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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.

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.

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

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.

Multiply Maths

Learn Devon supports delivering Multiply. This offers a range of short courses and workshops which aim to boost basic maths and numeracy skills. These short courses cover a range of topics from money and budgeting to measuring and multiplication. All Multiply courses can be found on the Maths courses section on our website.

Multiply courses are for anyone aged 19 or over and who doesn’t have a maths GCSE at grade C (or equivalent), Multiply is available to you!

What are the classes like?

Our groups are small and welcoming with no more than 12 learners per class. Our tutors are friendly. patient and passionate about helping our learners gain English skills. They work with our learning support assistants who are at hand to help you with any learning difficulties. Using a tailored learning plan our tutors will provide you with feedback to help you achieve your learning goals.

How can you enrol?

To join one of our Improve your maths or GCSE maths courses you will need to fill in our contact form to arrange a call back from our team. Alternatively, you can call your nearest centre at your convenience. During the call our friendly team will arrange an initial skills check appointment for you with one of our learning support co-ordinators. During your appointment you will be able to decide whether joining one of our courses is the right thing for you. We will also be able to get an understanding of your maths skills level and ensure you are joining the right course. Browse the courses.

Exeter College

We are pleased to be able to offer social staff the opportunity to complete their Functional Skills qualifications for free* with Exeter College. Staff will be able to complete Maths and/or English qualification, at Entry Level to Level 2, to support their skills development and progression.

Functional Skills are comprehensive qualifications for all ages and learner types, that equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully. These qualifications are ideal for you if you would like to gain a GCSE equivalent qualification.

You’ll learn in small classes, with supportive teacher and tutors who can tailor teaching to your individual needs. Gain the qualification and confidence needed to progress at work or go on to further education or training.

Functional Skill Maths- Get a Maths qualification and learn maths skills to open doors to work and study opportunities. Functional maths courses also support you in everyday situations. Learn maths as an adult and enjoy the experience. Functional maths helps you develop practical maths skills in context. Understand how numeracy skills can assist you in a job or your personal life. This functional skills maths course teaches you essential maths skills through practical examples.

Functional Skills English- Get an English qualification to help you access a variety of work and study options. Functional skills courses in English teach you to read, write, and communicate confidently in English. Functional skills English isn’t like learning English at school. This is an English course for adults created by adults. Develop practical English skills by learning language in context.

* These courses are available for free to adults who have not yet achieved a grade 4 or C or completed a Level 2 Functional Skills Qualification.

Course Details:

  • Duration: Once a week for up to 18 weeks
  • These will be either a weekday morning session (9:30am to 12:30pm) or afternoon session (1:30 to 4:30pm)
  • Delivery Location: These courses will be delivered in person by Exeter College at their city centre site.

To Apply: Please apply via Exeter College’s online application form here: Exeter College Online Application. When using the system, please select one of the following courses to apply for: Social Care Maths, Social Care English.

Once your application has been received, you will then be invited to attend an initial assessment and induction session.

Further Information- If you have any questions or would like further information about the course please contact Exeter College’s Adult Advice Team on 01392400170 or


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