We have committed to creating more flexibility in the exams system, to giving schools greater freedom over the curriculum and to reforming vocational education to support progression. Functional skills policy will form part of this work.
In the meantime, functional skills are included in the Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 curriculum. Accredited qualifications are available and these qualifications continue to form part of the Diploma and Foundation Learning. Functional skills qualifications will also be included in some apprenticeship frameworks with a view to becoming part of all frameworks by August 2012.
Schools and colleges should plan on this basis.
The content requirements of the new qualifications remains largely the same as those developed in the pilot phase (weightings may have been clarified in some areas) and therefore the impact on teaching and learning should be minimal.
However, the way in which assessments are delivered and the method of that delivery may have changed. Therefore, centres that were delivering FS pilot qualifications should check with their awarding organisation to confirm their new FS qualification assessment requirements.
Flexible approaches to assessment, such as online assessment and on-demand availability have already been developed by many of the AOs offering accredited functional skills qualifications.
As the qualifications become more established, it is expected that AOs will continue to work towards an offer that reflects centre needs for more flexibility in the administrative processes and methods of assessment.
Key skills comprise two assessment components:
Functional skills assessments are open-response, task-based assessments which require problem solving and transferable skills. Functional skills do not include a portfolio element.