Functional Skills progress update

We are pleased to announce we have completed Ofqual's technical evaluation process for reformed Level 1 and Level 2 English and Mathematics Functional Skills. We will keep you informed of progress with Entry level.

In our February #FunSkills2019 webinar, we shared information about our progress towards delivering reformed Functional Skills for September 2019.

We have since published draft versions of our new sample exams for Functional Skills Mathematics, Reading and assessment materials for Speaking, Listening & Communicating at levels 1 and 2. Draft samples for Writing and Entry level and will follow shortly.

Designing the new exams

We’ve been working on the design of our new Functional Skills exams and internal assessments since the new Department for Education (DfE) Functional Skills subject content and Ofqual Conditions and Requirements documents were published last year.

Customer feedback and involvement have been central to this work. We have made a point of reviewing all of the recommendations and feedback we have received over the past few years and, where possible, addressed these points, leading to much improved maths and English exams for both on screen and paper delivery.

As we have said in our webinars, the Functional Skills reforms bring new challenges and increased rigour – both of which we welcome. Ofqual is expecting greater consistency across awarding organisations and more security around assessment delivery, particularly where exams are delivered on demand. We do not expect this to involve any significant changes for the majority of you, but we’ll be consulting widely to ensure the reformed qualifications can still be delivered with the current level of flexibility across all settings, but with the right level of security and rigour.

Technical Evaluation and collaboration

We have also explained during our webinars that all awarding bodies intending to offer the reformed Functional Skills qualifications are currently submitting sample assessments and delivery plans to Ofqual for Technical Evaluation.

Our approach has been to phase our submissions, enabling us to incorporate feedback from each phase of the submission in to the next. We are on track with our plans, making good progress with Mathematics and English at Levels 1 and 2, and with submission of Entry level imminent.

We have also worked with other awarding organisations to agree common standards for the level of performance candidates will need to demonstrate in order to pass each of the new qualifications.

Helping you prepare

Earlier in this update, we mentioned the publication of our draft sample exams for Functional Skills English at levels 1 and 2, with Entry to follow.  Please make sure you are signed up to receive Functional Skills alerts, so we can let you know as soon as they are available to view. 

In common with all Functional Skills awarding organisations, any draft sample exams we publish remain subject to Ofqual evaluation.

As we move through the Technical Evaluation process, we will supplement these materials with more detailed specification and delivery guidance.

To view our materials, click the documents tab on this webpage and then on additional documents.

Launch events

We will announce details of our launch events for the reformed Functional Skills qualifications during the next #FunSkills2019 monthly webinar on Wednesday 6 March. A calendar of dates/venues, with links to sign up for these, will be added to our Functional Skills Updates page.

The launch events will provide a detailed overview of the reforms and will include a ‘walk through’ of all our new exams and assessments (both on screen and paper), as well as the revised delivery arrangements and full range of support available to you.

We always welcome your feedback on our progress and developments, so please send this through to our dedicated inbox Please also continue to keep up with our monthly webinars for regular progress updates.

The focus of our next webinar will be the range of digital learning resources we’re developing to support teaching, learning and exam preparation for reformed Functional Skills.

Sign up here to join the webinar >