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Functional Skills Staff Guide

What are functional skills?

Functional skills are recognised qualifications ranging from entry to level 2. Functional skills are a good way for building confidence in English or maths and can help you access further education, such as apprenticeships. They can also help you prepare for a GCSE course. Don’t worry if you have not been in education for some time, Learn Devon specialise in building confidence in learners, so they can achieve!

English Functional Skills

Aims to help learners to understand and respond to verbal communication in different situations, understand the definitions of everyday words and know how to use them, read accurately and to write documents with clarity using strong spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

You will complete assessments on:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and Listening

Maths Functional Skills

Aims to build your confidence to solve maths problems and make decisions. This is to ensure that you’re able to apply your maths skills to real-life situations. There will questions or tasks that must be completed with or without a calculator.

You will cover:

  • Using numbers and the number system
  • Using common measures, shape, and space
  • Fractions, Decimals & Percentages
  • Handling Information and Data

Download the Learn Devon functional skills pathway



  • What are level 2 functional skills equivalent to?

Functional Skills Level 2 in maths and English is equivalent to a GCSE level 4 or grade C.

  • How long is needed to complete a functional skill exam?

On average, learners take 8 to 12 weeks to complete Functional Skills online, but it is entirely up to you and the speed in which you choose to learn.

  • How much study hours do I have to do?

You will need to complete about 60 hours of learning before you can take your exam.

  • How many levels are there in Functional Skills?

Functional Skills is available at Entry Level 1, 2 and 3 and Level 1 and 2.

  • What is the difference between Functional Skills and GCSE?

Functional Skills are based on the key transferrable skills you need for everyday life. They test your problem-solving skills and your ability to apply your knowledge to real-life scenarios. GCSEs test your academic ability.

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