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Mathematics and English: Subject Content

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 27 February 2018

Functional skills are qualifications that enable people to develop and demonstrate a good standard of mathematics and English for success in life and work. They are an important part of education provision, particularly for students over the age of 16, apprentices and adults seeking to retrain and improve their skills later in life. The Government are reforming these qualifications to make sure that they give people the best possible preparation for employment, further study and everyday life. We also want new functional skills qualifications to provide employers with a reliable measure of students’ skills, knowledge and achievement.

As part of these reforms, today I am publishing revised subject content for mathematics and English functional skills qualifications. This follows extensive engagement with employers, teachers, subject specialists, and a public consultation which ran from the 12 September to the 7 November 2017.

The new content includes the skills employers tell us they need in their workforce and sets out the learning aims, requirements and standards of each functional skills qualification, moving from entry level 1 to 3 up to levels 1 and 2. Functional skills level 2 is currently accepted as a completion requirement for level 3 apprenticeships and higher, as an alternative option to a GCSE standard pass. Across all levels in both subjects we have improved how students learn to read, write, communicate, use numbers, measures, handle mathematical information and solve problems. In English, by level 2, students are required to read, write and communicate using straightforward and complex instructive, descriptive, explanatory and persuasive texts on a range of technical and non-technical topics. In mathematics, by level 2, students are required to use numbers of any size and form, including ratios, fractions, decimals and percentages, construct, interpret and handle a range of statistical information and data, and use their knowledge and skills to obtain solutions to complex problems.

The new content will be taught from September 2019. These changes aim to ensure that people have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their mathematics and English skills through accessible, practical, rigorous and well-respected qualifications.

The mathematics and English functional skills subject content documents, the Government’s response to the consultation and the equality impact assessment can be viewed online as attachments: