Functional Skills – News and Updates

Welcome to the Functional Skills news and updates page. This is a rolling page where you will find all the latest news and updates regarding Functional Skills, from both NCFE and the sector.

September 2017

Functional Skills Reform……what’s happening?

As you know there is currently a reform of Functional Skills taking place.

Things have been quiet for a little while as Ministers decided how they want to move forward and then there was the General Election; this has led to the launch of the proposed new qualifications being put back from 2018 to 2019.

At NCFE we’ve been involved behind the scenes ensuring we’re very much part of the process. We’ve been waiting for some time for the DfE and Ofqual to announce public consultations on the new Functional Skills content and on the regulatory requirements and recently they’ve finally been launched.

It’s important that people actually delivering Functional Skills get the chance to put their views across on the content and the regulatory approach, so we’d encourage you to get involved and access the consultations as below. If people want a bit of a background to the Functional Skills Reform you can go to PyeTait website here or to catch up on the different stages we’ve a blog on our website here.

DFE site for the content consultation.

Ofqual site for the regulatory element consultation.

Feedback for the future

We have some exciting plans for Functional Skills feedback for online assessments, happening this academic session. We plan to offer free, automated, individual, electronic feedback for all learners sitting a Functional Skills Assessment online. The feedback will map directly to the Functional Skills standards, giving you and your learners a chance to look at performance in different areas, and a basis for preparing for future resits.

More on this, coming soon!

Feedback for the present

Having listened to your observations on our current learner feedback, we’re going to offer a new report to help learners who have not achieved. This report is going to be at a significantly reduced price in comparison to our current Feedback report, and it will provide targeted information for each learner, indicating which area they have lost marks and how those marks were lost. This will be available from October and we’re excited to give greater support to you and your learners.

Practice makes perfect

We’ll shortly be releasing brand new Sample assessment papers for all L1-2 Functional Skills subjects. 

All new Samples will be available:

  • paper-based
  • online (via SecureAssess)
  • Instantly in browser, via the NCFE website.

Adding Additional Assessments

We’re releasing more Live and Sample L1-2 Speaking, Listening and Communications assessment sets.

And we’re currently working on the development of a new set of Controlled Assessments (Set 9) for Entry Level Mathematics and English and hope to have these live by the end of October.  We have listened to your feedback and comments and you will see an exciting set of new papers that your learners will appreciate the ‘functional’ nature of.

In addition, we will also have new samples available for all of the three subject areas to help you when preparing your learners for their assessment. These will be released at the same time as the Set 9 assessments.

Becoming more flexible

NCFE are looking to make life more flexible for our centres who use our paper based external assessment. We are looking to move away from the current process of sitting the external assessment at the time and date stated upon booking the assessment. We plan to give more control to centres to choose when their learners can sit their paper based assessment and we will be running trials soon before launching to all our customers, so watch this space!

Controlled Assessment coming to you, in a different way

We’ll soon be changing the way we issue our Functional Skills controlled assessment materials.

Currently all Functional Skills controlled assessments are emailed to your centre’s designated Programme Contact, following registration. However, we’ll soon be releasing all live controlled assessment sets to the NCFE website for centre’s to be able to self-serve. All controlled assessment sets will be password protected.

 NEW Level 1 and 2 ICT Pre-Release Data Files for LIVE and SAMPLE paper-based assessments available from September 2017