Reformed Functional Skills Qualifications in maths and English will be introduced in September 2019. The Department for Education and Ofqual have consulted on and confirmed their overall approach to regulating new Functional Skills Qualifications in maths and English, and have set out their final decisions on those rules and guidance. In February 2018, the Department for Education announced its response to the consultation it held at the end of 2017 and in March 2018, more information on the Subject Content and Ofqual Conditions and Requirements was made available.
In her letter of 3 December 2018 to Sally Collier, the Chief Regulator and CEO Ofqual, Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills confirmed the Government’s expectation that Guided Learning Hours (GLH) for reformed Functional Skills qualifications should be set at 55.
The Department for Education has created a postcard to illustrate the introduction of the reformed qualifications from September 2019.
The ETF is continuing to support the Functional Skills Reform Programme, offering a CPD programme to prepare the teaching workforce, with particular attention to the teaching of phonics in the post-16 context.
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 in 2015/16 also believe action is needed to improve practical maths and English skills.