Skills Minister Nick Boles has described Functional Skills qualifications as ‘important’ at a recent event organised to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference. Mr Boles also indicated that he aims to work in collaboration with Ofqual to improve the qualifications, and the way they are branded.
These signals of intent come as perhaps a bit of a surprise after a number of Government officials, including Nick Boles’ predecessor Matthew Hancock, described Functional Skills as a ‘stepping stone’ to the ultimate goal of GCSE. Mr Boles said that work needed to be done to make Functional Skills ‘legitimate, valid, respected, and admired’.
The admission, which was greeted positively by a number of Functional Skills experts, was made at an FE Week organised event. Carol Smith, Education and Training Manager at bksb, said on the subject:
“I am delighted that Functional Skills qualifications are more likely to retain their importance. I think that they’re extremely valuable as an alternative to GCSE, as well as a stepping stone. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the reviews that are to take place, and which direction the new Skills Minister will take the qualifications in.”