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Functional Skills Starter Kit

This starter kit aims to support providers in their delivery of functional skills by providing practical guidance and resources. It brings together existing nationally developed resources from the Functional Skills Support Programme, and the Being functional site, as well as some provider-developed resources produced through the LSIS Skills for Life Support and Support for Literacy, Language and Numeracy programmes.

The starter kit is useful for managers, teachers and workplace assessors new to functional skills or in transition from adult literacy and numeracy provision, as well as those currently delivering functional skills.

"Functional skills are practical skills in English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) that allow individuals to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.”

Department for Education and Skills, 2006

The intended added value of functional skills is that they equip people to apply English, ICT and mathematics in practical situations, choosing appropriate skills and techniques to solve problems. It is essential to think of learners becoming functional with their English, maths and ICT, rather than thinking there is a vital body of knowledge known as ‘functional English, mathematics and ICT’.

Functional skills were introduced to address concerns about standards of English, mathematics and ICT for learners of all ages. Qualifications assess how well learners are able to apply skills in English, mathematics and ICT to solving everyday problems at work, home and in society. Functional skills are embedded in 14–19 learning programmes and are also available as stand-alone qualifications for adult learners.

Through its five sections, the Functional Skills Starter Kit provides links to useful resources and guidance, which will help those new to functional skills take the steps needed to get started. There are also materials for those currently delivering functional skills, to support quality improvement.

You may want to begin by using the Readiness tool in Section 2 for self-check and action-planning or go directly to any of the sections below to find information and resources:

The functional skills model: from building skills, to practising and applying them, leading to secure and confident use.