Functional Skills – what are they?
The qualification mainly involves studying contextualized and relevant scenarios to learn problem-solving skills in English, Mathematics and ICT.
They can be studied as a stand-alone qualification either part-time or full-time but are also embedded into our GCSEs and are a compulsory component of our BTEC Apprenticeships.
Functional Skills are accredited to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and are offered at:
- Entry levels 1, 2 and 3
- Level 1
- Level 2
Why take Functional Skills?
Functional Skills were designed to address the concerns of employers that many young people and adults lacked a firm understanding of the basic English, Maths and ICT. Studying Functional Skills will help you to develop the transferable skills you need in everyday life and at work.
What subjects can you study?
Functional Skills qualifications are available in English, Mathematics and ICT. You can see what each course covers by reading the course details, which you can download from our Functional Skills specifications page.
How are Functional Skills graded?
Functional Skills qualifications are pass/fail qualifications (i.e. you aren’t given a grade).
How will I be assessed?
Each subject forms a separate qualification allowing students to pick different levels for each subject.
Functional Skills English is assessed through three units:
- Unit 1: Speaking, Listening & Communication is assessed by your teacher and you have an opportunity to meet each criterion at least once, through formal and informal discussions.
- Unit 2: Reading is assessed by an exam. At Levels 1 and 2, the exam is also available as an on-screen test.
- Unit 3: Writing is assessed by an exam. At Levels 1 and 2, the exam is also available as an on-screen test.
Each unit contributes equally to your overall grade.
Functional Skills Mathematics is assessed through a single exam. At Levels 1 and 2, the exam is also available as an on-screen test.
Functional Skills ICT is assessed through a single exam at Levels 1 and 2. The exam will be printed on paper but is completed using a computer.
What is a pass in Functional Skills equivalent to?
Functional Skills qualifications are often compared to GCSEs. Rough equivalencies can be found in the table below.
|Entry Level 1-3
||Achievement is below GCSE level|
||Half a GCSE at grade D/E|
||Half a GCSE at grade B|
If you are using your Functional Skills qualification to help you to get a job or to continue studying, it will be up to the employer or the school, college or training provider to judge whether your qualification meets their requirements.
What can I do once I've taken Functional Skills?
Students who complete Functional Skills qualifications demonstrate they are able to apply their knowledge to solve problems in English, Mathematics and ICT. This makes Functional Skills valuable when applying for a job.
Combining Functional Skills with other qualifications such as a BTEC Apprenticeship or GCSEs can open up a range of options for further study. For example, you could choose to study GCSEs, BTEC Firsts, an NVQ, a BTEC Apprenticeship, or a mixture of these qualifications.