With the amount of data that has been published in the past few months relating to the levels of English and maths in Great Britain, many educational practitioners seem disgruntled with the government’s decision to label Functional Skills qualifications as a ‘stepping stone’ and the announcement that GCSEs will replace them in the apprenticeship framework from 2017.
The UK is way down the global leader board for competency in English and maths, and almost 50% of our working adult population have the numeracy skills expected of an 11 year old. Thus, it seems surprising that the government are undervaluing the very qualifications that were developed to help raise these standards – Functional Skills; especially as little consultation with the education sector appears to have taken place.
Roger Francis, Director of Creative Learning Partners, raises a valid point in relation to changing the apprenticeship framework to incorporate GCSE English and maths. He queries whether those in vocational learning are likely to feel disengaged with a qualification they have potentially already failed to attain. Francis also cites that vocational learners tend to achieve Functional Skills because they are directly relevant to their chosen career, and not because they are easier or less valuable than a GCSE.