The new functional skills standards have just been released by the Department for Education along with its response to the consultation held at the end of 2017.
Perhaps the most contentious addition of the new reforms was the introduction of phonics, but the DfE defended their inclusion: “We have concluded that, following advice from phonics subject experts, the existing evidence suggests there is a place for phonics in the teaching of adult literacy; indeed there are some promising effects from some studies.” They added, “There are indications that phonics-based interventions have found to be effective in teaching students and literacy approaches used for students in mainstream education can also be used to teach students with a disability or SEN.”
The draft standards included spelling lists at Entry 1 to Entry 3 and, following feedback, these have been reduced: “We have reduced the size of the spelling lists and simplified these in line with comments received from employers and other stakeholders who assert that while spelling is an important functional aspect, the lists need to be relevant to the workplace and level of qualification.”
The use of a calculator to check calculations has been removed in specific areas of the maths standards after concerns from employers that they want their workforce to secure practical skills, such as basic mental arithmetic and the ability to check their own calculations.
The DfE promise that the revised standards have a clearer distinction between levels: “We have concluded, following discussion and feedback from subject experts, that the amendments made to the subject content sufficiently bridge the gap between levels, particularly between Entry Level 3 and Level 1.”
See links to the full documents below: