Why are the courses free?
The Government funds these courses because they provide essential skills for work or further education.
The majority of job roles require GCSE Maths and GCSE English grades 9 to 4 (or A* to C on the old grading system).
Pass grades in maths and English are also required for most further education courses. Examples where you need GCSE Maths and English pass grades to progress in education include;
- To access higher education courses
- To enrol on an access course
- To enrol on an apprenticeship
- To go to University
Did you fail GCSE maths or English? Or, not get a high enough grade for your education and career ambitions? There’s an alternative qualification that is the equivalent to a GCSE pass grade. They’re called Functional Skills courses.
What are Functional Skills courses?
Functional Skills courses are Government backed courses. They help people improve their skills for work and access higher education. Using real-life examples to help you improve your English, Maths and ICT skills. As well as being perfect for progressing in further education, or taking the next step in your career. Functional Skills courses also provide valuable skills for everyday life.
There are five levels in Functional Skills:
- Entry Level 1
- Entry Level 2
- Entry Level 3
- Level 1
- Level 2
Functional Skills Level 2 is the same as a GCSE grade 9 to 4 (or A* to C on the old grading system).
Why choose Functional Skills instead of GCSE courses?
Functional Skills courses are a popular choice instead of GCSE courses. They’re flexible and you can plan your learning to a schedule that suits you.
The biggest disadvantage of retaking GCSE maths or English is having to sit your exams at the same time as GCSE pupils at school.
So if you’ve missed the GCSE exams, you’ll have to wait up to 6 months before you can resit GCSE maths or English.
Not ideal if you want to apply for a job or start an apprenticeship.
How to find out where you can study Functional Skills courses
You can study Functional Skills courses locally at:
- Further education colleges
- Adult education centres
- Some libraries, children’s centres and other community venues
other training providers
When to choose to pay for a Functional Skills course
While Functional Skills courses are free from a local training provider. They might not offer the flexibility or level of support you need. With some training providers, it can take up to 6 months to complete your course. Or, they may have learning centre attendance schedule that doesn’t fit your work or childcare commitments.
Training providers such as Think Online Training offer paid Functional Skills courses. With flexible support by phone or email. Their most popular course, Functional Skills Maths Level 2, starts from just £19 per month.