Functional skills are important because they provide the skills, knowledge and understanding for young people and adults to progress in work, education and life.

It relates to transferring to learner’s ability to solve problems to real-life contexts. Functional skills are the fundamental English, Maths and ICT skills to aid their working and personal lives. People can study for these qualifications in practical ways. 

This blog post explains what functional skills are and why they are important.

What are functional skills?

These assessments/qualifications are practical skills in English, Maths and ICT for all learners aged 14 and above.

According to Expanse Learning:

Functional skills provide an individual with essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.

They are learning tools that enable learners to:

  • Apply their knowledge and understanding to everyday life
  • Engage competently and confidently with others
  • Solve problems in both familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • Develop personally and professionally as positively citizens who can actively contribute to society

Who are functional skills for?

Functional skills are available to all learners from Key Stage 3 upwards, whatever learning pathway they are taking. Skills learned helps students to participate and progress in education, training and employment. Functional skills help to broaden the range of aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours that will enable students to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

 How does functional skills work?

Learner performance is measured on a pass/fail basis at five levels. You do not have to pass through each level – more take the assessment appropriate to you.

How is performance assessed?

Initial assessments find out your individual strengths and learning needs. They help to make sure that any learning is at the right level, and tackles the right skill areas.

Learning centres and tutors will focus on helping you to develop the skills you will need in real life contexts and problem solving. So many of your workplace or home English and Maths needs will be used to help you understand and improve your skills. 

Final assessments can be either on paper or using a computer. They will be about showing how you can apply your skills and problem solve in realistic situations.

Each subject area has a set of performance standards based on three areas.

In Maths, these areas are:

Representing: Making sense of a situation and representing it mathematically

Analysing: Processing and using maths

Interpreting: Interpreting and communicating the results of analysis

In English:

Speaking and listening: Making an oral presentation or report

Reading: Reading and understanding information and instructions

Writing: Writing accurately so that meaning is clear

In ICT, assessment is based on:

Use of ICT systems

Finding and selecting information

Developing, presenting and communicating information

Why is studying for functional skills different to other assessments?

The difference between this and other assessments you may prepare for, is that you cannot revise.

This subject is about learning a skill base, which includes communication, teamwork, presentation and problem-solving. They can be used in daily life for a wide range of tasks (from getting the best deal at shops, applying for a job or using a computer).

Read more: the importance of functional skills in 14-19 year-olds.

How EDClass can support functional skills

Your learning can be supported on the EDClass platform via interactive, elearning content. Your learning style is supported via:

  • Lessons
  • PDFs
  • Multiple choice questions
  • ‘Drag and Drop’ puzzles
  • Word searches
  • Word jumbles
  • Jigsaws
  • Literacy and numeracy puzzles
  • Videos and podcasts
  • Quizzes
  • Contextual exams

Through EDClass the qualification is delivered online through tutor-led sessions and digital materials accessible via a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

One parents, Mrs Cusack from Oldham, said of our system:

I was increasingly concerned that the revised GCSE English language exam would be too demanding for my son who has autism and a language disorder. EDClass gave my son the opportunity to develop his reading and writing skills at his own pace and maintain his self esteem by providing him with a stepping stone qualification to work towards. The presentation element of this qualification was a fantastic way to engage him and helped him become more confident with techniques to use in his writing. 

Mrs Cusack, Parent, Oldham

For more information call 01909 568338 or use the contact form below.

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