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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Functional Skills

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 you can achieve!

Learners can start at a level they feel comfortable with and then work their way up. However, it should be noted that many further education courses (e.g. diplomas and foundation degrees) and apprenticeships require a level 2 qualification in both subjects to gain access.

Who is Learn Devon?

Learn Devon provides adult and community learning courses on behalf of Devon County Council. You can learn online from the comfort of your own home, with the support of our tutors and a learning support team, or at one of the centres across Devon.


The Town Hall, Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS

01237 472462


The Kennaway Centre, 10-12 Victoria Road, Exmouth, EX8 1DL

01395 223851

Newton Abbot

The Passmore Edwards Centre, Market Street, Newton Abbot, TQ12 2RJ

01392 384094


The Alexander Centre, 62 Plymouth Road, Tavistock, PL19 8BU

01822 613701

Download the Learn Devon functional skills pathway

The First Step

The first step is to contact your local centre. We have a friendly team in each centre, who are happy to talk with you about learning with Learn Devon. They will take some basic details and you will then be contacted by a member of our learning support team, to arrange an initial meeting: this can either be face to face or online via zoom. This meeting allows us to learn more about you and ensure we are best able to support you with your learning. They will also be able to answer any questions you have and give you an idea of what to expect from the course. There will be some basic skill checks/initial assessment, to get an idea of your level and the areas you will need to focus on.

What support will I get?

The initial meeting will also explore your learning style and any additional support you may require in order to make the course more accessible. Your tutor and the learning support team will support you throughout the course and can also arrange for exam arrangements to be put in place, if you require them.

Our classes

Your learning will be personalised to suit your needs. Our classes are taught online, or face to face in small groups of learners, with no more than 12 learners per class. This means the tutor can provide as much support and direction as possible. We also have learning support assistants available. You will need to complete about 60 hours of learning before you can take your exam. Each class lasts 2 hours with classes taking place at the same time each week e.g. Wednesday 6-8pm. You will need to ensure you are able to attend your class each week before enrolling.

Your assessment

You will only be entered for an exam after a discussion between yourself and the tutor to make sure you are ready and prepared for the exam. Our learning support team will ensure that any exam access requirements, such as extra time or rest breaks are in place. There is an minimum number of guided learning hours you must do before being entered to the exam



There are three assessments for English Functional Skills: reading, writing and speaking, listening & communication. These are taken at different points over the year when your tutor feels you are ready. Your tutor will make sure your assessment is at the right level for you and the length of the assessment depends on your level.

Reading: 1 hour, Writing: 1 hour and Speaking & listening: 30 minutes

There are two papers to sit for maths functional skills, these are sat at the same time, but with a short break in between the two. These will be within one of our centres around Devon.

Paper 1- 25 minutes (none-calculator)

Paper 2- 90 minutes (calculated allowed)

The time may vary depending upon your level.

Download the whole functional skills pack to share

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