What Functional Skills mean for adult learners Monday, July 2, 2012 - 11:53
The change from Skills for Life and Key Skills to Functional Skills is the most significant change to how adults improve English and maths in over ten years. To assess the impact this is going to have on the sector and the implications of such a transition, NIACE has today published a number of perspectives from experts and practitioners about what Functional Skills will mean for adult learners.
Making English and maths relevant: What Functional Skills mean for adult learners details how many people view the introduction of Functional Skills as a positive move, in particular how they will give learners a focus on real-life, everyday problem solving. However, there are also some concerns over whether this will be the best way for all adults to improve their English and maths skills; the extra time it may take learners to complete courses; the speed of the transition from Skills for Life, the ‘conceptual leap' that learners will be required to make and how appropriate Functional Skills are for adults with learning difficulties and those at the lowest levels.
Carol Taylor, NIACE Director of Development and Research, said:
"The introduction of Functional Skills is exactly what the recommendations of recent NIACE inquiries into adult literacy and numeracy stated - that adults need to learn transferrable skills in a way that is relevant to their everyday lives. While many people welcome the introduction of Functional Skills, as NIACE does, there remain a number of important concerns. We have published these views from a range of experts and practitioners from across the sector so that others can develop their own thinking around the implications of this fundamental change to how adults learn English and maths."
"Functional Skills will give learners the chance to develop their skills in a more useful way while offering teachers a new challenge. However, those with the lowest skills and those with particular needs will be the least well served. The biggest challenge for Functional Skills and the benchmark of its success will be how this way of learning will help make a difference for those adults who need the most support."
Making English and maths relevant: What Functional Skills mean for adult learners includes contributions from:
- Carol Taylor, NIACE Director of Development and Research
- Julie Mclean, Head of Work Based Learning at City College, Plymouth
- Steve Hailstone, Principal of Lancashire Adult Learning, Lancashire County Council
- Judith Swift, Union Development Manager, unionlearn
- Dereth Wood, Director of Operations at learndirect
- Jim Chambers, Chief Executive of JHP Training Group
- Chris Humphries, Chair of National Numeracy
- Judith Compton, Assistant Director at UKCES
- Jane Burnett, Curriculum Manager, Lewisham College
- Linda Samways, Head of Department for Foundation Learning, Lewisham College
- Peter Caldwell, WEA Education Director for Curriculum and Provision
- Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of OCR
- Karen Adriaanse, National Adviser for Careers Guidance and Employability, Ofsted
- Karen Evans, Chair in Education, Institute of Education, University of London
- Toni Fazaeli, Chief Executive at the Institute for Learning