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What are Functional Skills Mathematics qualifications? 

Functional Skills Mathematics qualifications are an alternative option to GCSE mathematics offered in some schools and most colleges. They are different to GCSE in terms of not just the content but the context – those studying it are asked to apply the maths they are learning to mathematical problem solving relevant to the workplace.

Is a pass in Functional Skills Mathematics valuable for a career in your business?

If so, we’d encourage you to refer to it in your job advertisements. Then, if young people see that you value the knowledge and skills it develops, they will be encouraged to work towards achieving it.

Why Functional Skills Mathematics are valuable qualifications 

A key aim of Functional Skills Mathematics is to build confidence and fluency in mathematics, encourage positive attitudes towards mathematics, and lay the foundations for progression into employment or further study. Functional Skills Mathematics covers the essential maths needed in most jobs.

Entry-level qualifications can be used as building blocks to develop mathematical knowledge and confidence while learning about possible employment or technical education scenarios. Level 1 and Level 2 mathematics are often requirements for entry into apprenticeships, diplomas and other courses.

What’s studied in Functional Skills Mathematics?

Functional Skills qualifications cover a broad range of topics relevant to the workplace, including number, ratio and proportion, common measures, shape and space, and information and data.

The Functional Skills course can be taken as:

  • Entry level (below GCSE level) where simple problem solving is required 
  • Level 1 (roughly equivalent to GCSE grades 2-3) where straightforward problem solving is required 
  • Level 2 (roughly equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 or above), where more complex problem solving is required 

The mathematical content increases in difficulty from Entry Levels 1, 2, and 3 to Levels 1 and 2. 

The complete subject content can be found within this government document.

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