Monday, 17 March 2014

GCSE vs Functional Skills

GCSE vs Functional Skills
This argument seems to be getting much more serious.  After the recent DfE announcement that all EYE courses would require passes in GCSE maths and English before an application can even be made, a report by FE Week is causing yet more concern in the sector.

First, let's be clear and re-emphasise that Functional Skills is and will remain a fully funded essential part of all Apprenticeships and Traineeships until at least 2017 (the time when the new 2015 specification GCSE will be first examined).  In between now and then there are lots and lots of ifs that can happen, but it is becoming more clear about the direction of Government thinking.   

In a written parliamentary response, Matthew Hancock (Skills Minister) was quoted as saying that Functional Skills should be "stepping stone" qualifications to GCSE. 

He said: “Students [aged 16 or over] whose initial assessment shows they are not ready to re-take GCSEs may take one of the interim qualifications as a stepping stone to GCSE, which can include Functional Skills and free-standing mathematics qualifications recognised by the funding condition.”

There has been lots of reaction to this with much support for Functional Skills from NIACE, AELP and AoC.  Read the FE Week story here.

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