Reformed Functional Skills qualifications are ready for first teach on 1st September

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Welcome to an update on the reform of Functional Skills English and maths.

Our new qualifications are live from the 1st September, Pearson’s offer has been shaped by the needs of teachers and learners. We have our FREE interactive schemes of work available to help with your planning, these include the embedding of our free and paid for resources to help deliver the new qualifications as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Free resources

As well as our interactive schemes of work, we have exemplar resources to help you understand the new standards These were created following a trial of our reformed Functional Skills qualifications; we asked real learners to sit the paper, which we marked against the new standards. Our exemplar resources show live examples of these learners’ work, and a commentary on how the work stacks up against the standards, and how it could possibly be improved.

Speaking of trials, we will shortly be releasing webinars on the Level 1 and Level 2 English and maths trial outcomes to show where the gaps in learning were. To help support you and your learners more, our free resources will focus on these gaps.

How do I keep up to date?

To help you keep up to date with activities on all things skills (including Functional Skills and ESOL), we will be launching a regular newsletter and podcast in the autumn to give you information on what needs to be done to prepare, all our training dates and available resources.

As part of Pearson’s support in the development of English and maths, each month we will focus on an important element of the English and maths journey. Each element will be discussed in the podcast, referenced in our blog and detailed in the newsletter. The first element we will focus on is enrolment.


I was honoured as part of my role as Governor to spend the morning with the English and maths team at London South East College during enrolment on the 3rd September, it was my first enrolment for five years. My memories were of a stressful time for both staff and learner, as 1000s of young people start the next stage of their lives. However, this experience was refreshing and filled me with optimism about how beneficial enrolment can be for all.

It all starts with planning. Having a timetable in place prior to the first enrolment certainly helps, especially as timetabling is one of the key issues facing the delivery of English and maths. Each study programme has timetabled slots for Functional Skills, GCSE resits or independent study for both English and maths; and each learner sits with a member of the English and maths team to ensure they are put on the correct programme to address their needs.

The process starts when the learners arrive and they have their documentation checked; nobody wants to go through the enrolment process and find they have left something at home. Once checked, the learners enrol on their vocational programme of choice. If they have no English and maths qualifications, they are sent for an assessment, otherwise they then go straight to the English and maths teams. These are all located in easy reach of the vocational teams, so the learners are not daunted by the size of the college, nor do they get lost. Their English and maths qualifications are checked and each learner then has their timetable explained to them (the college have taken great effort to ensure that the first lesson is almost always with the vocational team) and what qualifications they will be working towards and how it will help them in their vocational studies. Finally, the learners go to the funding team for the final checks.

What was key was how friendly the whole experience was from those greeting the learners on arrival to those working the various desks. In addition, senior management were visible at all times, supporting learners and staff during this busy time. It was a delight to see everyone chipping in to ensure the learners had the most positive start to their college careers.

More to come!

Our training offer is still going strongly, with new events available shortly and our network events coming in November. I look forward to meeting you at these events and discussing your views on the reforms and Pearson’s offer.

Chris Briggs

Sector Manager Post 16 English and Maths