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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 As we have a diverse range of candidates and centre types, we do not publish the pass rates as an average percentage as this could be misleading and would be an unfair comparison.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
Functional Skills were created almost a decade ago. The report 'Making maths and English work for all' conducted in 2015, found Functional Skills were not broken, but there was a need to improve their relevance and content, and their recognition and credibility in the labour market.
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. OCR actively participated in this reform and has consolidated your views.
The final report has recently been presented to Ministers at the Department for Education (October 2016).
The reformed Functional Skills qualifications are still on plan to be available for first teaching in September 2018. The current OCR Functional Skills at all levels (Entry Level 1 to Level 2) are continuing as normal with choices between paper-based or computer-based tests to suit your learners
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.