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Functional Skills qualifications support the development of practical skills in English, maths and ICT, and are designed to help learners gain the most out of work, education and everyday life. There's a strong focus on explanation and problem-solving, with a choice of paper assessment or on-screen, on-demand assessment.
During February, the Skills Funding Agency published their initial set of documents setting out the funding offer for 2016/17. While the context for the 2016/17 funding year is to break the link between funding and qualifications in order to set out a more flexible, locally-focussed offer, English and maths funding remains part of the legal entitlement and so remains directly linked to qualifications.
What will change from 1 August 2016?
Very little for English and maths. The Cambridge Progression Extended Awards are added to the offer, but all provision offered this year can be offered next year.
Why aren’t the Cambridge Progression units/Awards listed?
The legal entitlement list includes qualifications only.
SFA have confirmed that where qualifications are eligible for funding, they will make its components (including units) available. See page 8, section 24 of Qualification Eligibility Principles for further details. If you have any specific queries, please email our funding expert.
We are pleased to announce that the Thematic Review of our Functional Skills Maths Level 2 did not result in any major changes affecting centres' teaching and learning. Our tests are robust and centres can be confident that their learners see consistency.
The pass rates for both English and maths tests at Level 1 and Level 2 have remained stable year on year. As we have a diverse range of candidates and centre types, we do not publish the pass rates as an average percentage as this could be misleading and would be an unfair comparison. Our pass marks are available below.
The Thematic Review highlighted that some candidates were not using the full range of checking techniques available to them. We've reviewed our Guidance for Candidates and Centres, and we've extended and exemplified the guidance on checking. We hope that centres will act on the new guidance, resulting in more candidates achieving full marks for checking and higher attainment rates
Our Functional Skills are continuing as normal, but there are changes ahead.
The Education and Training Foundation are leading on the Functional Skills Reform Programme and have commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to review the skills standards and qualifications. Following this consultation, reformed Functional Skills qualifications should be available for first teaching in September 2018.
We are actively participating in the reform and encourage anyone with an interest in Functional Skills to provide their views about the new (draft) national Standards for numeracy and/or literacy.
Pye Tait are now analysing responses from their recent survey in July 2016. The second draft report of the new national standards will be available for your feedback by 17.00 on Friday 19 August 2016 following which the documents will be finalised.
We have made some improvements to the Functional Skills Speaking, Listening and Communication (SLC) assessment forms. New versions of the assessor observation record forms are available for Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Level 1 and Level 2. The administration process has not changed.
The existing forms will no longer be accepted for assessments after 31 August 2016.