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English Functional Skills


The English Functional Skills Qualification aims to help learners to understand and respond to verbal communication in different situations, understand the definitions of everyday words and know how to use them, read accurately and to write documents with clarity using strong spelling, grammar and punctuation.

There are three assessments that learners will have to pass in order to complete their English Functional Skills:


  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and Listening


Reading is defined as the independent understanding and decoding of written language texts that have a meaningful context.

Assistive technology such as screen readers can be used in the Reading component of the Functional Skills assessment if it reflects the learner’s usual way of reading, and still meets the standard of learners reading independently.

A human scribe is allowed to record written answers but is not allowed to read to the learner, as this would not be considered independent reading.

Writing is defined as the independent construction of a written text in a purposeful context. Voice recognition technology may be used to assist construction if this reflects the learner’s usual way of writing, however a human scribe cannot be used as this does not reflect the standard of independent writing.

Speaking, Listening and Communicating is defined by non-written communication, it typically happens face-to-face, although it can also include virtual interactions such as telephone and video conferencing conversations. Each individual word of the component can be interpreted in its own way if that makes the component more inclusive, as the component does not intend to create any barriers for people who have a speech or hearing impairment.


Learners can be assessed for this component using British Sign Language or augmentative speech equipment where it reflects the learner’s normal way of communicating.