QCA Functional Skills Update – May 09

GCSEs and functional skills from 2010

Ofqual published the criteria for GCSEs in English, ICT and mathematics specifications for teaching from September 2010 at the start of April. As a result of Ofqual’s advice to DCSF, learners will not be required to pass level 2 functional skills assessments to achieve A*-C grades in these subjects.

Awarding bodies are developing GCSE specifications against these criteria for accreditation by the regulators. These specifications are scheduled to be available in schools in autumn 2009. They will extensively test functionality, particularly as functional skills are already being delivered as part of the key stage 3 curriculum and will be embedded in programmes of study for key stage 4 in 2010.

Functional skills remain central to the reform of education for 14- to 19-year-olds and schools and colleges will be strongly encouraged to give young people opportunities to enter and achieve free-standing functional skills qualifications. Functional skills remain an important part of every Diploma qualification and their place within the foundation learning tier and apprenticeships remains unchanged.

Details about GCSE criteria development and consultation


QCA’s consultation on functional skill qualifications

We are planning to consult on the criteria that will form the basis of the next generation of functional skills qualifications from 1 June until the end of August.

This consultation is an important stage in the development and introduction of functional skills qualifications. The results of the consultation, together with the lessons learnt from the functional skills pilot, will inform the regulatory criteria for these qualifications for national roll-out in September 2010.

We want to hear from everyone with an interest in functional skills, from employers, schools, further education colleges, sector skills councils and universities.

Information about this consultation will be available from our functional skills pages.

For more information on functional skills qualifications, visit our functional skills pages and subscribe to our functional skills email newsletter.
Joining the functional skills qualifications pilot

Functional skills qualifications will be fully implemented from September 2010 following a three-year pilot. More than 2,000 centres are already involved in the pilot, but we are looking for more centres wishing to join the final year of the pilot.

Places on the pilot are restricted, but centres can join from September 2009 if they are:

  • registering learners for the Diploma from September 2009
  • offering the Advanced Diploma in September 2010
  • a further education college or training provider that can offer apprenticeships
  • a centre or provider with contracts offering learning in the custodial sector or probation service
  • a centre or provider of adult education.

To establish your eligibility to join the pilot, please email functionalskills@qca.org.uk with details of your centre and the relevant category. We will contact you with details of the next steps once your eligibility has been established.

Lessons learnt from the functional skills qualification pilot

We have produced a case study booklet and video to highlight some of the lessons learnt from the first year of this pilot. They illustrate some of the approaches centres participating in the pilot have taken to introducing functional skills.

The booklet and the video
are both available from our website.

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