An introduction to
functional skills
 What do I know about functional
skills?
 What do I need to know?
 What is my key issue?
1
An introduction to
functional skills
2
Objectives
 Consider the vision and purpose of
functional skills
 Understand the concepts of applied
learning, progression and mastery in
functional skills
 Make links to other training and guidance,
including the core modules for schools
 Provide support for further in-school
training and professional learning
3
Session 1
Functional skills
‘Functional skills will provide individuals
with the essential knowledge, skills and
understanding that will enable them to
operate confidently, effectively and
independently in life and work.’
14–19 education and skills;
implementation plan (DfES, 2005)
1.2
Process, not just content
It is essential to think of learners
becoming functional with English,
mathematics and ICT skills, rather than
thinking that there is a vital body of
knowledge, known as functional skills.
1.3
The functional skills pilot
 Started in September 2007 to:
– pilot functional skills qualifications
– discover the best ways of teaching and
learning functional skills
– investigate how to develop functional skills for
learners in all settings and at all levels.
1.4
The challenge
 To provide the opportunity for all young people
to succeed at a higher level by:
– creating clear learning routes that provide
the skills and knowledge they need
– offering young people the chance to learn in
different ways
– offering qualifications that are widely
understood
1.5
Raising the participation age
 Progression at the heart of reforms
 Aim to ensure all young people develop their potential
 From 2013 all young people required to continue in
education or training post 16*
 This could be in:
– full-time education: school and college
– work-based learning: apprenticeship
– part-time education or training: employment, selfemployment, volunteering 20+ hours a week
*Until 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015
1.6
New pathways
The qualifications currently available are being brought
together into a series of distinct pathways:
CONSIDER
OPTIONS
14
GCSE
Foundation, Higher or
Advanced Diploma
Further education
Foundation or
Higher Diploma
GCSE / A Level
Higher education
Foundation Learning
Tier
CONSIDER
OPTIONS
16
Foundation Learning
Tier
Apprenticeship
Employment with
training
CONSIDER
OPTIONS
17
CONSIDER
OPTIONS
Apprenticeship post-18
18
Employment
Employment with training
1.7
Functional skills
 Functional skills aim to equip young people with the
essential skills they need for life, work and study
 They will be taken by all young people from 2010
 They are:
– part of the secondary curriculum and the
Diploma, Foundation Learning Tier and (from
2010) apprenticeships
– being embedded in GCSE English, mathematics
and ICT specifications but also assessed
separately
1.8
Personal, learning and thinking skills
 Embedded in the new secondary curriculum, GCSEs and
part of generic learning of Diploma
 Cover six areas:
– Independent enquiry
– Creative thinking
– Reflective learning
– Team working
– Self management
– Effective participation
 Highly valued by employers and HE
1.9
The Diploma
 By 2013 an entitlement to all students
 Combines practical and theoretical achievement
 Provides access to university as well as to skilled
employment and training
 Helps students understand why certain skills and
knowledge are important and lets them apply
these to realistic problems and scenarios
 Existing qualifications such as BTECs, GCSEs
and A Levels are available as components
 Delivered in partnership with other schools,
colleges, employers and HEIs
1.10
The Diploma
Phase 1 – 2008
Phase 2 – 2009
Phase 3 – 2010
Phase 4 – 2011
 Construction
 Business,
 Humanities and
and the Built
Environment
 Creative and
Media
 Engineering
 IT
 Society, Health
and
Development
Administration
and Finance
 Environmental
and Land-based
Studies
 Hair and Beauty
Studies
 Public Services
 Retail Business
 Sport and Active
Leisure
 Travel and
Tourism
Social Sciences
 Languages and
International
Communication
 Science
 Hospitality
 Manufacturing
and Product
Design
1.11
Diploma framework
Principal learning
Generic learning
Additional and
specialist
learning
Sector- and subjectrelated skills and
knowledge, 50%
practical skills used
in workplace
Functional skills
Personal learning
and thinking skills
(PLTS)
Project
At least 10 days of
work experience
Range of additional
options endorsed
by employers
1.12
Diplomas and functional skills
 Functional English, mathematics and ICT are
embedded in Diploma delivery
 All three functional skills at Level 1 are required
for Foundation Diplomas
 All three functional skills at Level 2 are required
for Higher and Advanced Diplomas
1.13
Functional skills: assessment basics
 Functional skills are:
– stand-alone qualifications in English,
mathematics and ICT
– available at Entry 1, 2 and 3, and
Levels 1 and 2
– use standards that have drawn on the National
Curriculum, GCSEs, key skills,and Skills for Life
– based on mastery assessment with no grading
1.14
Functional skills: characteristics
 Functional skills are:
– applied skills
– transferable
– relevant to all contexts
– appropriate for all learners
1.15
Session 2
The four factors of progression
 Complexity: the components within a situation,
the steps needed to solve a problem and the
accessibility of the task
 Familiarity: extent to which a learner recognises
elements of a problem or situation and is then
able to transfer skills from one context to another
 Technical demand: range of knowledge, skills
and techniques
 Independence: level of autonomy a learner
demonstrates when tackling a problem
2.1
Session 3
The three-stage process of learning
 A successful learner:
– builds the full range of functional skills
– practises applying those skills in a range
of contexts
– demonstrates mastery in a range of
contexts
3.1
Purposeful activity
 Purposeful problem-centred activities have
both an aim and a reason for tackling the
problem
 Activities need to give a satisfactory
answer to the learner’s question ‘Why am I
doing this?’
3.2
Activity
Design an information page for parents which
gives advice on managing money for
students.
Support your information page with valid
data, advice and appropriate images found
using the internet and other sources.
Provide some practical examples which
demonstrate and explain how interest rates
work, using graphs to support your
arguments.
3.3
Planning a learning sequence
 Identify:
– the skills that learners will build
– the skills that learners will apply
– a learning context
– what learners already know
– the level of demand that is required
– which skills are transferable
 Construct an appropriate learning sequence
3.4
Assessment contexts
 Work and education
 Community, citizenship and environment
 Media and communications
 Family, home and social issues
3.5
Assessment features
 Purposeful application of skills in a real-life
scenario
 Task-based or task- and test-based
 Externally set but may provide for internally
contextualised task-based assessment
 Based on the standards and assessment
principles
3.6
Session 4
Good advice
 Work collaboratively
 Start small
 Review and revise
 Evaluate progress critically
 Learn from experiences
 Celebrate success
4.1
Support for functional skills
 Functional skills support programme: e-learning





http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/
DCSF 14-19
www.dcsf.gov.uk/14-19/
14-19 Reform toolkit
www.14-19reforms.co.uk/
QCA
www.qca.org.uk/functionalskills
LSIS
www.lsis.org.uk/14-19
www.excellence.qia.org.uk/159670
Diploma Support Programme
www.diploma-support.org
4.2
Teachers’ views
Learning has been fun and the
students have really engaged
with activities because they
can see the purpose.
It’s developed the skills of the staff
and students and there has been a
massive improvement in the
students’ self-esteem and
confidence.
Our teachers didn’t want to do it (FSfocused lessons) but they tried it, it
worked and even the more difficult
classes wanted to do more.
Those who achieved Level 2
were really pleased and it
encouraged them to go for the
C grade.
Fantastic opportunity to join up
thinking at KS4.
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An introduction to functional skills