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Functional Skills

What are Functional Skills?

"Functional skills are practical skills in English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) that allow individuals to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.” Department for Education and Skills

Functional Skills are practical skills in English and Maths for all learners aged 14 and above. 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 positive citizens who can actively contribute to society.

Why are Functional Skills important?

Functional Skills are important because they provide our KS4 pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they will need in order to progress and succeed in education, work and life.

Who are they for?

Functional Skills are available to our KS4 pupils whatever learning pathway they are taking. The skills taught will help them to participate and progress in education, training and employment. Working on Functional Skills helps to develop and secure the broader range of aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours that will enable students to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

What are the Functional Skills standards?

The Functional Skills standards are technical documents that define and differentiate the skill requirements for the Functional Skills qualifications. For Functional Skills assessment, learner performance will be measured on a pass/fail basis at five levels: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Learners are not required to move sequentially through each level but to take the Functional Skills qualification at the appropriate level when they are ready to do so.

At what levels are Functional Skills qualifications available?

Functional Skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT are available at Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Each subject area has a set of performance standards based on three key areas:


Key areas:

  • Representing – making sense of a situation and representing it mathematically.
  • Analysing – processing and using maths.
  • Interpreting – interpreting and communicating the results of analysis.

Functional English

Key areas:

  • Speaking and listening – making an oral presentation or report.
  • Reading – reading and understanding information and instructions.
  • Writing – writing accurately so that meaning is clear.

How do Functional Skills levels equate to National Curriculum levels?

  • Entry Level 1 = NC level 1
  • Entry Level 2 = NC Level 2
  • Entry Level 3 = NC Level 3
  • Level 1 = NC Levels 4 and 5
  • Level 2 = NC Levels 6 and 7

How many points are Functional Skills qualifications worth?

The confirmed points allocation for Functional Skills qualifications are:

  • Level 2 = 23 points
  • Level 1 = 12.5 points
  • Entry 3 = 7 points
  • Entry 2 = 6 points
  • Entry 1 = 5 points

These points are additional to any awarded for GCSEs.

What’s different about Functional Skills?

Functional Skills is about learning a skillbase, including communication, team working, presentation, and problem solving, that is then transferable to other areas of learning, life and work.

They help make sense of daily life, from getting the best deal at the shops, to applying for a job or using a computer.