Since beginning our technical evaluation process, the Department for Education (DfE) has written to us about the number of hours of Guided Learning (GL) for the reformed Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) in English and mathematics.
Although it is generally the role of awarding organisations to set the number of hours of GL of their qualifications, the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills has now agreed that the number of hours of GL for reformed FSQs in English and mathematics should be set at 55.
This consultation does not relate to determining the number of hours of guided learning. This has already been agreed, as per the ministerial letter published in December 2018. This consultation simply relates to the changes to the Conditions and requirements, in order to give effect to this decision. As it relates to details of our Conditions, the primary audience for this consultation will be awarding organisations.
Our proposed approach
We are proposing to make a minor change to our rules and guidance for reformed FSQs, giving effect to the decision to set the number of hours of GL for reformed FSQs in English and maths at 55 hours.
General Condition E7 requires awarding organisations to assign to each qualification that it makes available a number of hours for GL and Total Qualification Time (TQT).
As the DfE has set a specific expectation around GL for the reformed FSQs, we propose to replace this General Condition with a bespoke Condition for FSQs requiring awarding organisations to develop reformed FSQs with 55 hours of GL.
The draft Conditions putting this approach into effect are provided in Annex 1 (English) and Annex 2 (mathematics).
Draft Conditions FSE7.1 and FSM7.1 have the effect of dis-applying General Condition E7 for FSQs.
Impact of our proposals
Our proposed change is designed to enable the development of reformed FSQs in English and mathematics in line with this requirement.
If our proposals are implemented, awarding organisations will need to make appropriate changes to any related documentation, including those submitted for technical evaluation, for the reformed FSQs.
Our proposed changes do not apply to existing FSQs.
We have not identified any regulatory or any equalities impacts (either on students who share protected characteristics or more widely) which would result from our proposed changes.
‘Protected characteristic’ is defined in the Equality Act 2010. Here, it means disability, racial group, age, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
We are seeking your views on both the way we are proposing to change our Conditions for the reformed FSQs to reflect the new GL requirement, and on the detailed drafting of the proposed changes set out in Annexes 1 and 2. We are not seeking views on the number of hours of GL itself, as this has already been determined by the DfE.
We would also welcome your views on our assessment of the likely impact of our proposals – including whether there are any additional impacts we have overlooked, and any steps we could take to mitigate such impacts.
Please email your views to email@example.com, including ‘Functional Skills GL Consultation’ in the subject line, no later than 5:00pm on 30 April 2019.
Ways to respond
Functional Skills GL Consultation
53-55 Butts Road