Would you like your functional skills with or without phonics?

Would you like your functional skills with or without phonics?

The proposed functional skills reforms have been published and all interested parties have been encouraged to provide their feedback.

In a previous post, we have given a summary of the new standards, highlighting some of the key changes. Phonics have been included in the Entry Level curriculum and it appears this hasn’t been to everyone’s taste.

Schools minster Nick Gibb allegedly loves them and many feel his influence has led to their inclusion in the new curriculum, contrary to advice gleaned from the year-long consultation by the Education and Training Foundation (EFT).

Jill Stokoe, an education policy adviser with the National Education Union, and part of the ETF’s functional skills expert advisory group, sits firmly in the other camp. She has said, “It’s absurd and bewildering that a phonics curriculum is proposed. Ministerial obsession with phonics must not infect post-16 provision in the same way it has primary schools. One size does not fit all.”

She goes on to say that functional skills weren’t broken before but if these reforms are accepted in their current form, they will be.

It’s not just the proposed English reforms that have come under criticism. Mike Ellicock, the chief executive of National Numeracy, warned that the reforms could lead to functional skills maths being the least functional of any maths curricula.

So whether you’re an advocate of phonics or not, get involved and have your say before the 7th November deadline.

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