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Reform of functional skills qualifications in English and maths

Functional skills - maths 389x267.jpg

Ofqual has published information outlining reforms to the functional skills qualifications (FSQs) in English and maths.

What is remaining the same

Many aspects of current FSQs are being retained - for example:

  • The qualifications will remain graded on a pass/fail basis
  • Questions will often continue to be based on everyday scenarios
  • Teaching and assessments can still be delivered flexibly
  • Teachers will still be able to mark assessments for entry levels and the speaking, listening and communicating component of English.

What is changing

The reforms will result in much more specific common content, which aims to increase comparability between awarding organisations' qualifications. The content also reflects the Department for Education's (DfE) curriculum intention that reformed FSQs should include assessment of underpinning skills.

  • For English, this means a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar without dictionaries or computer aids; and at entry levels there are now detailed reading and spelling expectations based on the structured teaching of phonics
  • For maths, this means more of an emphasis on the underpinning knowledge and skills required to solve mathematical problems. This includes using times tables and working with and without a calculator
  • In light of the reforms and changes to content, the DfE has decided that the guided learning hours for FSQs will increase from 45 to 55 hours.

Ofqual's information page contains details of the progress made so far in the reform of FSQs, including the status (as at 1 April 2019) of each of the qualifications currently being developed. It has also published a video providing a quick overview of the changes to functional skills qualifications.

First published 08 April 2019