About the Project

In March 2015, the Education and Training Foundation led the Making maths and English work for all review (MMEW). This review clearly demonstrated the demand for qualifications which provide practical maths and English skills. Please click here to view the infographic.

Maths and English skills are of critical importance to employers at all levels of staff role and ability and, where non-GCSE qualifications are concerned, Functional Skills are the ones of which the highest proportion of employers are aware.

The MMEW review also found that Functional Skills are not broken but could be improved and the standards they are based on need updating. The Government has taken forward the recommendations made by the MMEW and is committed to ensuring that everyone, who may not have achieved maths or English GCSE at grade C or higher (or in future between 5 to 9) has an appropriate opportunity to improve their maths and English skills.

In July 2015, the Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles asked the Foundation ‘to set out what a programme of reform to update maths and English functional skills qualifications would involve’. The Education and Training Foundation was commissioned to lead a programme of reform to ensure Functional Skills provide a valued route for young people, and adults returning to education, to achieve a robust qualification that has credibility with employers and is useful for both life and work.

The reform programme of Functional Skills qualifications in maths and English will lead to a more rigorous, challenging and well-taught set of qualifications when they become available during 2018. Reformed Functional Skills will provide opportunities for all learners to improve their skills in a contextualised and flexible way.

Pye Tait Consulting, in partnership with the Learning and Work Institute, has been commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation as the delivery partnership to lead the consultation for the Functional Skills Reform Programme.

We have planned a number of opportunities to consult with a wide range of: education and training professionals/organisations, employers, professional and industry bodies, employer representative bodies, unions, teaching and training practitioners, FE colleges, offender learning organisations, organisations which work with people who have special educational needs or disabilities, subject specialists, awarding organisations and post-16 learners.

In order to arrive at a credible set of standards and recommendations for the qualifications, recognised and valued by employers, employer engagement is of a key importance for the reform programme. We want to find out which maths and English skills employers require. The consultation also seeks a range of views from the post-16 education and training sector. Collated findings will be used to build consensus and recommendations for improvement.