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Changes to Functional Skills: What You Need to Know

11th June 19

The Functional Skills standards changed on 1st September 2019. These changes were 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 to Functional Skills courses were to the exams, but there were some changes to the content of Functional Skills English, Functional Skills Maths, and Functional Skills ICT courses.


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


There are many small changes to the content of Functional Skills Level 2 courses, 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 Functional Skills standards will no longer be available for Functional Skills exams booked after 31 August 2019.  If you’re currently working towards your Functional Skills exam, you can book it in advance to ensure that you will be assessed on the correct material. Contact your nearest Functional Skills exam centre to find out more.

If you’re not going to be ready for a Functional Skills 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, Functional Skills Maths, or Functional Skills ICT, then enrol on your chosen course with learndirect today.

What Should I Do If I’ve Got Any Questions? 

You can call us on 0800 101 901 or email us at

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