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Accreditation: Functional skills qualifications

Functional skills qualifications in English, mathematics and ICT are available at Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3, level 1 and level 2.

The skills criteria for functional skills qualifications specify assessment outcomes for qualifications at each level in terms of skill standards, coverage and range.

Each of the three skills has a set of performance standards based on three key areas:


  • Speaking and listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

Find out more about Teaching and learning functional English.


  • Representing – selecting the mathematics and information required to model a situation
  • Analysing – processing and using mathematics
  • Interpreting and communicating the results of the analysis

Find out more about Teaching and learning functional mathematics.


  • Use of ICT systems
  • Finding and selecting information
  • Developing, presenting and communicating information

Find out more about Teaching and learning functional ICT.

Assessments developed by the awarding bodies include a range of approaches based on a common set of principles, in accordance with the functional skills standards. The assessments are:

  • Designed to measure the competent application of skills within real-life scenarios;
  • Task-based, or task and test-based;
  • Usually externally set but may provide for internal task-based assessments; and
  • Subject to rigorous quality assurance arrangements awarded on a pass or fail basis. Therefore a marginal fail at level 2 does not result in a pass at level 1. Learners must be entered at the right level.

Where performance is sufficient to meet the level requirements, a pass certificate is awarded.

Qualifications in English clearly indicate which units (e.g. reading; writing) have been achieved.

More information about accreditation can be found on the QCDA archive website.

Visit the websites of awarding bodies for further information about individual arrangements for functional skills. You can also access past papers and mark schemes from most awarding organisations, and they do provide support to centres to support delivery.

There are also some excellent resources on awarding organisations’ sites. In particular, most include PowerPoint™ presentations that can be used with staff to explain functional skills.