Functional Skills

Learn more about Functional Skills including online courses, assessments and Functional Skills qualifications.

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills are government regulated and accredited courses. They include maths courses, English courses and ICT courses.  

Each course provides essential skills for work, education and life.

There are five Functional Skills qualifications, Entry Level 1, 2, and 3, Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 2 maths and English are equivalent to a GCSE pass grade.

Functional Skills courses use practical, real-life examples to help you learn maths, English and IT skills.

They are flexible courses to fit around other commitments such as work and parenting.

Why are Functional Skills Qualifications useful?

Functional Skills Level 2 qualifications are equivalent to a GCSE pass grade. The English and maths courses are perfect for people who failed their GCSE maths or GCSE English. Or GCSE Maths and English pupils who would benefit from a style of learning with more practical real-life examples.

A pass grade in English and maths is essential if you want to progress in your education and career. The benefits of retaking GCSE maths and English with Level 2 Functional Skills qualifications include;

  • Apply for a job that requires a GCSE grade 9 to 4, or A* to C
  • Access higher education
  • Enrol on an access course
  • Enrol on an apprenticeship
  • Go to University
  • Help your children with their homework and revision
  • Improve your skills and confidence with day-to-day tasks

For some apprenticeships, you may only need Functional Skills Maths Level 1.

Are Functional Skills recognised qualifications?

Yes, they’re nationally recognised qualifications. By employers, education organisations and training companies. Accredited by awarding bodies including;

  • AQA
  • City & Guilds
  • NCFE
  • NOCN
  • OCR
  • Pearson

The curriculum for Functional Skills is set by the government.

You’ll receive a Functional Skills certificate for each level.

What are Functional Skills qualifications equivalent to?

Functional Skills Entry Level 1, 2 & 3 Qualifications


Entry level qualifications are for people who haven’t been in education for a long time. They provide support and training to prepare students for Level 1 and Level 2.

This is similar to having:

  • 1 GCSE below grade G or 1
  • Foundation learning entry level

Functional Skills Level 1 Qualification


  • Equivalent to GCSE grades 1 to 3 (D to G in old GCSE grading system)
  • NVQ Level 1
  • GNVQ Foundation
  • Key skills level 1
  • Functional Skills level 1
  • QCF level 1
  • RQF level 1

Functional Skills Level 2 Qualification


  • Equivalent to GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C in old GCSE grading system)
  • NVQ Level 2
  • GNVQ Intermediate
  • Key skills level 2
  • QCF level 2
  • RQF level 2

Functional Skills Assessment

You’ll need to complete an initial assessment and diagnostic before starting a course.

Functional Skills Initial Assessment: this is an assessment of your maths or English skills level. The result of the assessment will help decide which level your course should start from.

Functional Skills Diagnostic Test: this tests your strengths and weaknesses at your current skill level. To help create your personal learning plan.