Maths and English Functional Skills Reform Programme

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In this section

Reformed Functional Skills will be introduced in 2019.  This follows widespread consultation led by the Education and Training Foundation, with more than one thousand individuals, organisations and employers, on the steps needed to make maths and English Functional Skills qualifications even more robust and more credible.

Government ministers are currently considering our recommendations and how they fit into the wider post-16 skills landscape.  Reforming qualifications is a complex task and we need to make the right decisions for learners.  There will be more opportunities to get involved in shaping the revised qualifications as DfE will be launching a further public consultation on the subject content in the coming months.  Ofqual will also be launching technical and policy consultations.

ETF will continue to lead the Functional Skills Reform Programme, undertaking work to prepare the teaching workforce and commissioning an awareness campaign to make sure these qualifications are valued and understood. The qualification landscape is complex – with several hundred qualifications available and changes to terminology over the years. GCSE is a well-known qualification with an established brand. However, our consultation showed that employers’ primary focus was the need for young people and adults with good practical maths and English skills, regardless of the specific qualification taken. Almost half of employers surveyed now recognise Functional Skills qualifications, but three quarters of employers consulted also believe action is needed to improve practical maths and English skills.

Once the subject content is approved, we will revise the Pre-entry Curriculum Framework.  We are currently developing exemplar curricula and training to support teachers and a new module for initial teacher training.

Reports from the first phase of the reform programme consultation are available to download. These include:

We are also working on the development of new, robust, dynamic and inclusive exemplar curricula. This will not only support teachers but ultimately improve outcomes for learners by helping them to gain both the confidence and competence to use maths and English in all areas of work, further study and life.

A summary of the Functional Skills Reform Programme is available and further information is detailed at the consultation website . A full set of questions and answers related to this reform, from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, are also available.