Functional skills are about developing maths, English and digital skills with a focus on teaching learners how to apply these skills in everyday contexts. For example, functional maths focuses on problem-solving and gives learners practical strategies for applying and transferring skills in real-life situations.
Functional skills provide a single route to achievement from Entry Level 1 to Level 2 for all learners in all sectors.
Functional skills are built based on the curriculum for adult literacy and numeracy and focus on assessments designed to test the application of skills. They can be accredited as free-standing qualifications.
Learning functional skills also feature as an essential element in apprenticeships, especially where the apprentice has not achieved grades 9-4 (A*-C) in English and maths GCSEs. In other words, they can also be awarded as a component of apprenticeships or other awards, including diplomas or foundation learning.
Because of the practical and contextualised nature of functional skills, they have proven to be popular with both adult learners and employers. Assessments can also be done flexibly around the year, which is often more appropriate for adult learners rather than a traditional GCSE-type exam that can be taken just once a year.