From tomorrow, the Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit will extend its responsibilities to younger people and give support for schools. It is likely to change its name to the Basic Skills Agency to reflect its new role.
Director Alan Wells said it would be a "quiet change, we won't be doing any sky-diving or hanging off buildings".
The unit was established in 1980 with government funding which will be raised to just over Pounds 4 million for 1995-6. It has survived a Department for Education review of its remit when there was the possibility of it being taken over by the Further Education Funding Council.
Peter Davis, former director of Reed International, has been reappointed as its chairman for another three years by the Education Secretary.
Mr Wells said the revamped agency will develop its family literacy programme, which aims to encourage parents to spend time in school improving their basic skills and learning how to help their children to read and write.