At Riverside Training we are ready for changes to the English and maths Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) that come into effect from the beginning of September.
English and maths FSQs are well-respected and help students gain important real-world skills, preparing them for employment, further learning and everyday life.
They enable learners to study the core elements of English and maths in a practical way - with a strong emphasis on problem-solving - that may be more suited to them compared to the traditional GCSE route.
The current FSQs are being replaced by reformed qualifications to make them even more relevant and credible for the world of work - and easier to compare with other qualifications.
From September all new students will be enrolled onto the reformed qualifications.
The reform process presented an opportunity to strengthen the design and delivery of FSQs and the resulting decisions ensure the qualifications better meet employer needs in terms of the knowledge and skills that learners achieve.
The Department for Education (DfE), which is responsible for subject content, has introduced much more specific common content.
That means there is more emphasis on the underpinning knowledge and skills that learners need.
In essence, this means that for English, there will be a firm focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar, without the aid of dictionaries or spell checks.
At Entry levels, there will be detailed reading and spelling expectations based on the structured teaching of phonics.
For maths, it's about solving mathematical problems, using times tables and working both with and without a calculator.
Some of the features that worked well in the legacy FSQs, such as permitting on-demand assessment and using a Pass/Fail grading system will continue.
Level 1 and Level 2 assessments - with the exception of Speaking, Listening and Communicating in English - will also continue to be set and marked by the awarding organisations.
However, aside from content focus changes, there are a number of other alterations including to the duration of assessments which, in line with DfE expectations, sees the number of guided learning hours increased from 45 to 55.
The rules will also allow the context of Entry level assessment tasks to be adapted by teachers to reflect situations in which their students may use the skills being assessed.
First teaching of the reformed qualifications is 1 September and, from this date, new learners will need to be registered for the new versions of FSQs.
Learners already registered on legacy English and maths FSQs will have until 31 August 2020 to be awarded their qualifications, after which they will be withdrawn.
- For more information about Function Skills in English in maths - or any of our qualifications and apprenticeship opportunities - get in touch with our friendly and helpful team by calling 01775 710945.