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Functional Skills Update. July 2006. A Snapshot Of Reform Ambition. Framework Credit Specialised Diplomas at Levels 1, 2 and 3 Foundation Learning Tier (‘bottomless’ entry and level 1) Vocational Qualifications Reform And underpinning all of this … Functional Skills.

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a snapshot of reform ambition
A Snapshot Of Reform Ambition
  • Framework
  • Credit
  • Specialised Diplomas at Levels 1, 2 and 3
  • Foundation Learning Tier (‘bottomless’ entry and level 1)
  • Vocational Qualifications Reform
  • And underpinning all of this …
  • Functional Skills
functional skills background
Functional Skills - Background

Pressure from employers to ensure that both young people and adults are able to fully function in English, maths and ICT basic skills has led to the functionality agenda being a key initiative in both the 14-19 Education and Skills White paper and the second Skills White Paper

Functional Skills underpins the reform agenda.

leitch review of skills interim report skills in the uk the long term challenge
Leitch Review of Skills – Interim ReportSkills in the UK: the long-term challenge

‘Our nation’s skills are not world class. We run the risk that this will undermine the UK’s long-term prosperity. We have many important strengths … But we have considerable weaknesses. More than one third of adults do not hold the equivalent of a basic school-leaving qualification. Almost half of adults are not functionally numerate and one sixth are not functionally literate … Improving our schools will not solve these problems. Today over 70 per cent of our 2020 workforce has already completed their compulsory education.’

functional skills purpose
Functional Skills - Purpose
  • Replace existing key and basic skills with a new set of qualifications suitable for both young people and adults
  • Represent an efficient way of assessing learners in the skills they need for work and life, which can be taken on demand
  • Link to GCSEs in maths, English and ICT, so no–one can achieve an A*-C without achieving the functional element
  • Form part of Specialised Diplomas
functional skills current position
Functional Skills - Current Position
  • Draft Standards agreed, but likely to be revised after trialling or piloting. Expected finalisation as early as spring 2007
  • Standards from Entry 1 to Level 2
  • Decisions on assessment and delivery of functional skills still under discussion
  • Decisions on structure of Functional Skills in relation to other qualifications still being discussed
  • Agreed with QCA that awarding bodies will trial a range of assessment methods (and associated standards) with selected centres later this year; all subjects, all levels, all contexts
functional skills time line
Functional Skills Time Line
  • Sept 2006 Limited trialling of Standards and assessment methods with GSCE, Key and basic skills learners
  • Sept 2007 Certificated piloting of Functional Skills qualifications in English and ICT
  • Sept 2008 Functional Skills will be included in Specialised Diplomas
  • Sept 2009 Functional skills for English and ICT contributing to GCSE grade and certificated as stand alone qualifications
  • Sept 2010 Functional skills for maths contributing to GCSE grade and certificated as stand alone qualifications
  • 2010 Probable phasing out of existing key skills and adult literacy and numeracy qualifications
  • Draft Standards available now, for use in awarding body assessment trials starting later this year
  • Standards on QCA web-site
  • Available from Entry 1 to Level 2
  • Higher levels will be looked at from ‘the autumn’
  • Standards mapped to the national curriculum
  • All qualifications for functional skills will be based on these standards
functional skills unit titles
Functional Skills Unit Titles
  • English
    • Speaking and listening
    • Reading
    • Writing
  • Maths
    • Making sense of situations and representing them
    • Processing and analysing the mathematics
    • Interpreting and communicating the results of analysis
  • ICT
    • Use ICT systems
    • Find, select and communicate information
    • Develop and present information

Hoped that:

  • Learners will progress from an initial level at pre-16 (at Entry, Level 1 or 2). Level 2 remains the target achievement for all learners, but expected that progression above that level will be seen as desirable
  • GLH of 30-40 were originally suggested for full time learners; hotly debated and under review
what we don t know about functional skills
What We Don’t Know About Functional Skills
  • Whether assessment methods will be consistent across all Functional Skills, levels and candidates … could be a different assessment method for apprentices for example
  • How the Functional Skills will be funded and attributed to the attainment tables
  • Size of FS units (e.g. 30 GLH, 3 credits …)?
  • What will happen to ESOL?
  • The proportion that Functional Skills will make up of the GCSE (or of the Specialised Diplomas) ... half is suggested
how does a centre get involved
How Does A Centre Get Involved?
  • First trials will focus on using assessments to test the Standards and are targeted at a cross-section of centres: small scale trial with no certification – centres will be invited to get involved
  • Piloting will begin in September 2007:
    • Gateway Process favours collaborative bids which include Functional Skills
    • Edexcel will hold events throughout 2006/7 to disseminate information on getting involved in pilots
    • Information will be available on Edexcel website as soon as it is available
testing and trialling some detail
Testing and Trialling – Some Detail
  • QCA is working with awarding bodies to test and trial:
  • All subjects
  • At all levels (entry to level 2)
  • With all constituencies
  • A range of assessment methodologies including:
    • Tests – nationally or locally devised
    • Tasks - e-assessment, practical activities, etc
    • Portfolio - preferably e-portfolio
testing and trialling criteria
Testing And Trialling Criteria
  • Assessment should measure skills levels and provide evidence of mastery
  • No additional assessment burden
  • Cost effective
  • Usable
  • Practical
  • Plausible for parents and employers
  • Uses technology effectively
  • Seeks to address all constituencies with one assessment for each subject
  • (subject assessments should be fit for purpose so may be different)
what has edexcel been doing
What Has Edexcel Been Doing?
  • Working actively with QCA and DfES to consider possible assessment and delivery methods to suit the needs of all learners who are likely to need functional skills qualifications
  • Considering how influential on-screen assessment might be and implications for centres
  • Investigating ways in which we can best support centres
  • Supporting the active delivery of ALAN on-screen qualifications as a potential forerunner of functional skills
how do i keep updated
How Do I Keep Updated?
  • Visit the Edexcel website
  • Get on the Edexcel policy watch mailing list
  • Contact your RDM or regional office
  • Visit the functional skills pages of the QCA website