What are Functional Skills?

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills Facts

Functional Skills are the essential skills needed for English, maths and ICT, and are vital for young people and adults to participate in life, learning and work. They were introduced in September 2010 and officially replaced Key Skills in England in October 2012.

Problem solving is at the heart of Functional Skills; they require the learner to apply their knowledge and understanding in a range of familiar and unfamiliar situations. Functional Skills are a mandatory element in apprenticeships as well as being stand-alone qualifications in their own right at Entry Level 1-3, Level 1 and Level 2.

An intermediate apprenticeship requires the achievement of Functional Skills at Level 1 in English and maths and, depending on the vocational programme, ICT.  An advanced apprenticeship requires a Level 2 achievement in Functional Skills in both English and maths, and ICT depending on the course.

Level 1 Functional Skills are equivalent to a GCSE Grade E-D, and Level 2 Functional Skills are equivalent to GCSE Grade C-A*. This includes GCSEs obtained from summer 2012 onwards with an Enhanced Functional Content (EFC).  Equivalencies for the new 1-9 GCSE have not yet been published.

Functional Skills are currently under review to ensure their continued rigour and academic currency alongside the new GCSE. However, results from the reform programme have been put back until 2019.

ForSkills provide the vital baseline assessments and learning resources to prepare learners for Functional Skills in English, maths and ICT at all five levels. Our materials are compatible with the qualification requirements of all the main awarding organisations such as Pearson, City and Guilds, and NCFE.

Functional Skills Video Resources

Free Functional Skills Video Resources

How to produce outstanding lessons

The Learner Journey (Mathematics) Functional Skills Best Practice

The Learner Journey (English Reading & Writing) Functional Skills Best Practice

Functional Skills Assessment


  1. Alice Oladimeji says:

    I have a desire to study social work as a degree holder in early childhood studies unfortunately I was told that certificates for both English and Maths are required. Therefore, I am looking for a well recognised professional body that can help me to solve this problem so that I can qualify for September 2019 in order that my passion to make differences in vulnerable peoples lives such as the elderly and young people can be achieved.

    • Atif Aziz says:

      Hi Alice, If you get in touch with Runway Training since they work with individuals. Their number is 07966511605. Thank you

  2. Lou says:

    Hi my daughter has been doing an nvq2 child care qualification for the last 1yr. When going with the company she showed them her certification level 1 functional skills for maths the said no problem she can do course. Now. They are saying she has to re take the math functional skills even though AQK awarded her the qualification in math how do we stand

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