The DfE published a consultation on subject content for maths and English Functional Skills and are inviting responses by November 7th using the online system wherever possible. Visit www.education.gov.uk/consultations to submit your response. There is a degree of overlap with an Ofqual consultation opening at the end of September and resondents are encouraged to read both.
This DfE consultation asks questions on whether the proposed subject content for Functional Skills represents a demanding course of study for students who will take the qualifications, and whether they will develop the numeracy and literacy skills required for employment.
- Does the proposed subject content cover the appropriate knowledge and understanding for Functional Skills in these subjects?
- At Entry levels – does the content cover the key elements of literacy and numeracy needed to support students to progress to higher levels of study in English and mathematics?
- At Levels 1 and 2 – does the content cover the key elements of literacy and numeracy needed for employment?
- At Levels 1 and 2 – will the proposed qualifications secure sound progression for the purposes of progression into further study?
- Does the proposed subject content provide assurance that essential knowledge taught in earlier levels is built upon and represented adequately?
The English consultation is about 15 pages plus detailed appendix giving examples with particular references to phonics. The DfE says:
“A number of amendments have been made to the English subject content following engagement with employers, subject-matter experts and other stakeholders. The content now has a greater focus on oral communication and the requirements for spelling, punctuation and grammar have been strengthened. Phonics has been added in order to effectively build reading skills, providing the foundation needed to sound words out in order to read words automatically on sight.”
The maths consultation is smaller with less detail in the appendix. DfE say this about maths Functional Skills:
“Responding to the needs of employers, reformed content has a strong focus on contextualising knowledge and skills to improve the relevance for students, for example, calculating percentages based on VAT or calculating simple compound interest. Mathematical literacy is included, as is approximation, estimation and checking.”