Functional skills reform – research into adult phonics

Functional skills reform – research into adult phonics

Perhaps the most contentious proposal of the recent Functional Skills reforms was the introduction of phonics in entry level reading.

Now research has been commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) into the approaches of using phonics with adult learners. The study will be carried out by University College London using focus groups and an online survey. Feedback is particularly welcomed from tutors who are teaching Functional Skills English at entry level and their approaches to using phonics with a range of learner groups, and any barriers or enablers to effective practice that they have encountered.

The project will help inform the ETF’s advice to practitioners in the run up to the introduction of the Functional Skills Reform Programme.

The ETF’s Head of maths and English, Imke Djouadj, said: “This research and its findings will play a key role in giving depth to the forthcoming Functional Skills reform. It is why it is vital that as many practitioners as possible take part in the focus groups and surveys. When the survey is launched we will promote it throughout the sector.”

Read more from the FE News article or register your interest to take part in the focus groups and/or the online survey, by contacting Gemma Moss at

One comment

  1. Alison Lyon says:

    Teaching phonics to my learners has really helped them to become more skilled and confident about decoding words. Children learn these strategies in school. If delivered in an age-appropriate way, adult learners also benefit. It’s a shame they have not been benefitting previously.

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