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Changes to Functional Skills: What You Need to Know

Posted on 11/06/2019
Changes to Functional Skills: What You Need to Know

The Functional Skills standards are changing on 1st September 2019. These changes have been made in response to feedback from employers about the sort of skills they need in the workplace, and the reform to qualifications – including GCSEs – that occurred a few years ago.

The main changes are to the exams, but there are some changes to the content too.


The new exams will be slightly longer and you will no longer be able to use a dictionary to check your spellings in the English exam. In terms of speaking, listening and communication, there is greater focus on listening skills and this is reflected in the new assessments. In the maths exam, you can only use a calculator for certain questions, rather than all of them.


There are many small changes to the content, including the addition of fresh content and the alteration of certain material to a different level.  

What should I do if I’m learning to the current FS standards? 

The current standards will no longer be available for exams booked after 31 August 2019.  If you’re currently working towards your exam, you can book it in advance to ensure that you will be assessed on the correct material. Contact your nearest exam centre to find out more.

If you’re not going to be ready for an exam in time and you’re learning with us, don’t worry! We have prepared a short course to cover the new skills and we will be giving it to all our current learners free of charge.

If you’re thinking about studying Functional Skills English or maths, you can still purchase the current content, along with the free short course, until 31st August 2019. From 1st September 2019, you can purchase the all-new content.

What should I do if I’ve got any questions? 

You can call us on 0800 101 901 or email us at upskilluk@learndirect.com