Functional Skills

Skill development for adults.

EDIFunctional Skills comprises of practical skills in English, Mathematics and ICT (Information and Communications Technology). These qualifications are suitable for learners of all ages, providing them with the essential knowledge, skills and understanding to enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.

People who possess the skills assessed by Functional Skills will be able to participate and progress in education, training and employment.  They will also be able to develop and secure the broader range of aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours that will enable them to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

Functional Skills in English, Mathematics and ICT are available with us at Entry Levels 3 and at Level 1 and Level 2. From September 2012 they will replace the Basic Skills of Literacy and Numeracy and the Key Skills of Communication, Application of Number and Information and Communication Technology at the relevant levels.

Functional Skills relate to England only. The UK equivalents are Essential Skills Wales, Core Skills in Scotland and Essential Skills in Northern Ireland.

Delivery & Assessment

Functional skills qualifications are designed to be delivered in the workplace. Individuals will undertake an initial assessment and diagnostic assessment to identify the areas for development and the appropriate level. Mercia tutors will provide all resources, including laptops and 3G Internet connectivity for online testing.

The assessments are constructed as wholly task-based and there are no portfolio-based assessments as with Key Skills. Functional Skills assessments are structured to show the processes a learner goes through to find a resolution to a task. There are no multiple choice questions in the Mathematics, ICT or Writing assessments. Functional Skills will be graded as Pass or Fail, with a pass mark of between 70-75%.

Functional Skills assessments can be delivered independently of other qualifications.

Functional Skills and Key Skills differ significantly in the assessment methods used:

  • Key Skills use a combination of multiple choice selection and a portfolio for assessment
  • Functional Skills assessments are structured to show the processes a learner goes through to find a resolution to a task.  These process skills are integrated into every assessment. Providers should therefore be aware that some adaptation of teaching methods will be required to encourage learners to demonstrate these skills.

BKSB Portal for learners
EDI Campus Login for tutors


Nationally recognised qualifications which are GCSE equivalent

  • Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE A-C
  • Level 1 is equivalent to GCSE D-G

Qualifications are awarded by EDI, a leading examination body governed by QCA.

*All VQ provision now requires the completion of  Functional Skills qualifications.

You can find out more about Functional Skills from EDI or from

You can perform a skills health check on the National Careers Service website

For further details please contact:

Sandra Birchall
0151 289 0918

Last updated: August 14, 2013 at 10:00 am