Publicise benefits of functional skills, ETF urges
More must be done to improve employers' awareness and understanding of functional skills if the qualifications are to be respected, according to a new report. The Education and Training Foundation has found that although functional skills in maths and English are gaining widespread recognition with employers, their purpose and value need to be better explained. Its report, Making Maths and English Work for All, says a publicity campaign could help to put the qualifications into context and ensure they are not seen as a "consolation prize" in a GCSE-focused system. The ETF calls for standards to be aligned to employability and for the content of the qualifications to be based on employer needs. Standardised, rigorous but flexible assessment is needed to give employers confidence, it adds. Last year, more than a million functional skills qualifications were awarded in England. Awarding organisations are already responding to pressure from Ofqual to make them more valid and reliable, and the exam watchdog will soon be setting out guidance to ensure that consistent standards are set. Ofqual has warned that it will consider "formal regulatory action" if its requirements are not met.
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