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Functional Skills updates

e-volve OpenAssess now live!

e-volve OpenAssess, our new, free, Functional Skills practice test service is now live!

With OpenAssess learners can do our Functional Skills on-screen sample tests in a replicated version of the live test environment – so it’s just like doing a live test. What’s more teachers can access their learners’ answers, mark them, and share results with the learner.

Emails have been sent to Functional Skills centres’ e-volve SecureAssess Primary and Technical contacts, and Functional Skills contacts with the web addresses needed to access to the system. For more information, please also see the new OpenAssess page, with an introductory presentation and user guides.

If your centre is not currently using our on-screen test platform but would like to find out more, please visit our dedicated evolve page.

Functional Skills 2019 reform

With the publication of Ofqual’s final conditions, requirements and guidance for the reformed Functional Skills qualifications, we are pleased to announce that the development of our new Functional Skills offer and qualifications for first teaching from September 2019, is now underway.

New functional skills qualification offer >

We are hosting a series of webinars and free face-to-face events to update customers and gather feedback on the reforms and the development of our wider offer.

Join in on our series of free face-to-face events >
Or join us for our next Functional Skills reforms webinar on Wednesday 5 June >

hash tag fun skills 2019

Register for the Functional Skills 2019 reforms webinar series

This monthly series of webinars will update you on the reforms.

Register now >

A full list of upcoming and past webinars is shown below:

Upcoming webinars


Wednesday 5 June 2019
15:30 – 16:30 BST
Wednesday 3 July 2019
15:30 – 16:30 BST
Wednesday 7 August 2019
15:30 – 16:30 BST


Past webinars

Watch May 2019 webinar | Download slides

Watch April 2019 webinar | Download slides

Watch March 2019 webinar | Download slides

Watch February 2019 webinar | Download slides

Watch January 2019 webinar | Download slides

Watch November 2018 webinar | Download slides

Watch October 2018 webinar | Download slides

Watch September 2018 webinar | Download slides

Watch August 2018 webinar | Download slides


Please come prepared with any questions you may have as there will be an opportunity to ask questions during and after the webinar.

The new Ofqual conditions, requirements and guidance can be found here, along with the DfE subject content and consultation responses:

If you have any questions, comments or feedback on the reform please email us at fsreform@cityandguilds.com.

Past Functional Skills updates

16 April 18

Following their consultation last year the DfE have published the new Functional Skills subject content for English and mathematics from Entry 1 to Level 2. From September 2019 Functional Skills all new assessments will be based on this subject content. The DfE also published their response to the consultation and an equality impact assessment, links below:

Functional Skills Subject Content English

Functional Skills Subject Content Mathematics

Functional Skills Consultation Government Response

Subject Content Equality Impact Assessment

Ofqual have also launched a consultation on implementing Functional Skills reform, which we will be responding to. More information can be found at:

Implementing Functional Skills Reform

We will be hosting a series of update webinars to help customers understand the changes and implications. We’ll be sending out dates for these and how you can book in due course.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback on the reform please email us at fsreform@cityandguilds.com.

Please also ensure that you and your colleagues are signed up to receive Functional Skills email updates.

Coming soon! OpenAssess – our new Functional Skills onscreen practice assessment tool

We’re in the final stages of testing OpenAssess, our new, free, onscreen practice assessment tool for Functional Skills centres and learners.

With OpenAssess your learners can do our on-screen sample tests in a replicated version of the live test environment – so it’s just like doing a live test. What’s more teachers can access their learners’ answers, mark them and give them feedback.

To find out more about the benefits and how you can get access, download our OpenAssess presentation.

10 October 2017

Functional skills consultations - 10 October 2017

As you will be aware, the government has announced a review of Functional Skills maths and English qualifications. Details of the current consultations around Functional Skills. can be found here: Department of Education - consultation overview

Who is the consultation for?

The consultation is for anybody with an interest in the English and mathematics subject content for Functional Skills qualifications. The consultation document lists the key questions which require answers and provides useful background to the consultation.

The consultation closes on 7 November 2017

City & Guilds will be submitting a response.

In parallel, Ofqual is consulting with awarding organisations on a proposed approach to the design and regulation of Functional Skills (FSQs).

If you have questions about the consultation, contact details for those with queries are contained within the DfE/Ofqual documentation.

16 May 2017

Entry Level Functional Skills - 16 May 2017

Following the last Functional Skills Entry Level update posted in April 2017, we can now confirm that the refreshed ICT suite of sample and live assessments is available to download with immediate effect. These are available from the City & Guilds Functional Skills (3748) qualification page.

We aim to follow this with release of refreshed sample and live Functional Skills English assessment material on Friday 19 May.  Please note that all original ICT and English Functional Skills assessments will be available on the website and can continue to be used until the 31 August 2017.

We have taken the decision to postpone the release of all refreshed Entry Level FS maths assessments until 1 September 2017.  This is to allow a little more time for quality assurance. It will be possible to use the ‘old’ maths assessments up until 31 October 2017. They will be removed from the website from that date and the refreshed assessments only will be available from 1 November 2017.

If you have any specific enquiries, please contact centresupport@cityandguilds.com for further information.

March 2017

Entry Level Functional Skills - 30 March 2017

Amended 10 April 2017
Following feedback from centres, the last date shown below for use of papers which have not been refreshed has been changed from 30 June 2017 to 31 August 2017.

This is advance notice of the release of new sample and live assessment materials relating to Entry Levels 1, Entry Level 2 and Entry Level 3 Functional Skills Maths, English and ICT.

We have taken this opportunity to refresh some of the existing materials, in particular the mark schemes, for clarity. At the end of this academic year we will withdraw some of the existing live papers, some of these papers will be reworked as sample assessments and uploaded to the website early in 2018.

Papers that are removed from the website can continue to be used by centres until 31 August 2017 if they have stocks, but must not be used beyond this date.

This release will take place in stages:

18 April 2017 - All existing sample papers will be taken off the website and refreshed versions uploaded, some samples will be retired.

8 May 2017 - The refreshed versions of some papers and the new live assessments will be uploaded to the qualification page.

31 August 2017 - Papers which were not refreshed will be removed from the website and must not be used after this date.

A table showing the detail of the amendments by paper name is available from Centre documents menu on the Documentation Tab of the 3748 qualification page or here.

Functional Skills ICT in-app Update - 15 March 2017

We have received a number of queries from centres experiencing difficulties with uploads of learner work during Functional Skills ICT assessments 3748-924 & 925 in-app tests.

This is a reminder that learners must not use special characters when naming files to be uploaded.

As the Functional Skills ICT In-app on-screen tests have specific technical requirements and functionality, please can we remind centres delivering these qualifications of the importance of reading the FS ICT In-app Assessment Guidance v3-6 which can be found on the Documents Tab of the 3748 Qualification webpage, under Assessment Materials which can be found here.

In particular, can we direct you to the below guidance in section 3.4 Uploading a completed document. Candidates will need to be aware of this upload restriction before sitting these tests as the system will not prevent them from uploading such files during the test.

  • File names must only contain alphanumerical characters (A-Z and 0-9). Characters can be both upper and lower case. Candidates must not use special characters (such as &, !, %) as this will lead to uploaded files being inaccessible by the system for that task, and any subsequent tasks, even if the original file title is removed or replaced.

1 February 2017

Functional Skills Pricing Update

From 1 March 2017 the pricing of our maths, English and ICT entry level, level 1 and 2 Functional Skills qualifications will be updated.

This will be the first price change since 2014 and represents our continued investment and development of Functional Skills.

To view the updated prices please visit Walled Garden.

Over the past three years City & Guilds has:

  • maintained a flexible, on demand qualification offer both for paper-delivered and on screen assessments
  • delivered improvements to paper-delivered and on-screen assessments
  • invested in improvements in on-screen candidate performance feedback, including the introduction of e-volve centre analytics for on-screen assessments
  • provided support from on the ground, named technical advisors through briefings, support visits and training events
  • delivered improved accessibility features for on-screen testing

We have also continued to support the learning and assessment preparation journey by:

  • introducing a free initial and diagnostic testing tool in our e-functional Skills solution
  • providing free teaching and learning resources through our SmartScreen platform
  • offering a wide range of qualification support materials including detailed delivery guides and a dedicated teaching tools web page

Further developments planned for 2017 include:

  • improvements to accessing practice tests
  • a refreshed Entry level offer
  • development of further enhancements to e-volve assessments
  • further investment in performance feedback

Our digital learning offer also continues to grow to support qualification delivery:

  • e-Functional skills tool including Vocational Top Ups for the Construction, Care and Hair and Beauty sectors
  • Maths engagement videos (in development)
  • additional assessment preparation materials (in development) and Speaking and Listening resources (in development) for our Maths and English e-Toolkit solution

Working with you

As outcomes of the recent ETF/Pye Tait Functional Skills Reform programme emerge, we will continue to engage fully with centres on design and development of the revised offer.

17 January 2017

Word Count available for onscreen assessments for Functional Skills Writing papers

In response to customer feedback, we have added word count functionality to our on-screen Functional Skills English Writing assessments at Level 1 and 2.

This additional functionality allows the candidate to see how many words they have written for each question so there is no need to count the words themselves.

From the 10th February, word count will appear on all writing sample assessments so tutors and candidates can see how it will look.

From the 1st March, word count will appear on all live assessments.

Please note, for any tests scheduled prior to the 1st March, this will not be available to candidates. For tests booked on or after the 1st March, word count will be available.

If you have any specific enquiries, please contact centresupport@cityandguilds.com for further information.

9 December 2016

Reminder – System requirements for e-volve onscreen tests

Please can we remind you that before learners take any online Functional Skills tests, you review the evolve minimum technical requirements document on our website to make sure you have the latest version of flash installed.

This will ensure your learners do not experience any technical issues during their assessment

Minimum technical requirements for e-volve onscreen assessments

Revised Functional Skills Mathematics assessments at Level 2 now live

Our revised Functional Skills Mathematics assessments at Level 2 are now live. All on-screen and paper-based bookings made for exam sittings on or from the 31 October will receive the new format versions.

Impact on the issue of results for Functional Skills assessments while new versions are released

Please be aware that while we roll out the new versions ALL candidate results will be held until we have completed an analysis of the live results to ensure that the grade boundaries are set correctly. This is an important quality step to ensure that the assessments are robust and reliable. As a result of this quality process, there may be an impact on our ability to issue results within our standard 20 working-day turnaround. Whilst we will do everything we can to issue results promptly and within 20 working-days, please be aware that results may take up to an additional 5-7 working-days.

Additional versions of Functional Skills assessments in Mathematics, English Reading and English Writing at Levels 1 and 2 will be released between now and March 2017, which will also be subject to this important quality step. During this time, centres may experience an irregular pattern in the notification and issue of results for Functional Skills assessments, depending on which versions candidates take and whether these are subject to the awarding process

If you have any specific queries please contact centresupport@cityandguilds.com for further information.

27th October 2016

New Level 2 Functional Skills English Writing Paper

A further sample paper has been added to the Documents Tab of the Functional Skills qualification page.

The paper is titled “Nuisance and Hazards” and includes an opportunity to practice writing a report and a speech, documents learners find particularly challenging to write. Worked examples of this and the other writing papers are being prepared and should be available from the website early December 2016.


3 October 2016

Centre Guidance for the introduction of revised Functional Skills Mathematics assessments at Level 2.

Our revised Functional Skills Mathematics assessments at Level 2 will go live on Monday 31 October 2016.

In response to customer feedback we have reviewed and improved the layout and usability of our on-screen and paper-based Functional Skills Mathematics assessments at Level 2. The new-look assessments will start to be rolled out from 31 October 2016.

Please note that the content and level of the assessments have NOT changed.

To help you understand the details of the transition to the new assessments we have put together this guide.

Please familiarise yourself with this guidance and share it with your teams as it contains important information about booking and scheduling assessments during the transitional period and some changes to our service level agreements.

Please note the following guidance relates to the launch of the revised format Functional Skills Mathematics Level 2 assessments only. There are no substantial changes to the format of any other Functional Skills assessments.

If you have any further questions regarding the roll out of these revised format Functional Skills assessments please contact centresupport@cityandguilds.com

1 September 2016

New Sample paper A new Level 2 Functional Skills English – Reading sample paper has been added to the website. The paper called “Fun Run” can be found on the Functional Skills qualification page on the documents tab under Level 2, Functional Skills from Autumn 2015.

The link to the onscreen sample will be added to the website shortly.

Centre Guidance for time allowance changes to Functional Skills English Reading and Writing assessments taking place from 5 September 2016

The time allowance for our paper-based and on-screen Functional Skills English Reading and Writing assessments at levels 1 and 2 will be extended from Monday 5 September.

From 5 September both the Level 1 and Level 2 Reading papers will be 1 hour 10 minutes (up from 1 hour) Level 1 and Level 2 Writing papers 1 hour 20 minutes (up from 1 hour and 1 hour 5 minutes respectively).

We ask that you familiarise yourself with this guidance and share with your teams as it contains important information about booking and scheduling assessments during the transitional period.

Please note the following guidance relates to Functional Skills English Reading and Writing assessments at levels 1 and 2 only.

If you have any further questions regarding the launch of the revised format assessments please contact centresupport@cityandguilds.com

For more details download, Delivery Guidance Functional Skills English, (PDF 76KB)

Functional Skills: 2019 reforms monthly update webinar series

Watch all the webinars in our #FunSkills2019 webinar series.

Contact Us

E: centresupport@cityandguilds.com

T: 0844 543 0000

For more information on offering our qualifications at your organisation, visit our Offer our qualifications page.