The proposed new reforms are very reminiscent of the Adult Core Curriculum and this is very welcome.
At ForSkills, we have always used the more granular Core Curriculum as a blueprint for our resources before mapping them across to the Functional Skills standards. The Core Curriculum always showed a clear progression through the levels and this is very apparent and welcome in the new reforms.
In English, there is an emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar with a clearly mapped progression. At entry level, the use of phonics to aid reading and spelling has been highlighted. Homophones now make an appearance at E3 rather than Level 1. Punctuation also shows a clear progression from capital letters to apostrophes and colons (not previously explicitly stated in the curriculum). Grammar continues the more academic trend with a reference to definite and indefinite articles at E3 and modal devices at Level 2.
In maths, there is an embracing of the old Core Curriculum headers of number; measures, shape and space; and handling data, and also a recognition of the importance of developing and testing underpinning skills along with the application of skills for problem solving. Like English, the standards appear more challenging. At Entry 1 a learner is expected to work with numbers up to 20, and at Entry 2, numbers up to 50. Recognition of simple fractions and decimals also starts at Entry 2. At Level 1, there is a reference to calculating simple interest, and at Level 2, calculating compound interest and VAT.
These reforms have succeeded in displaying a clear progression with an added academic weight to give them more rigour alongside the GCSE route.
A full breakdown of the proposed reforms along with a link to provide your feedback is available via this DfE page.