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Functional Skills and ESOL Skills for Life Update February 2021

Ref : B21-24

Type : Amendment

Date : 18 March 2021

February update for Functional Skills English/Mathematics/ICT, ESOL and Awards.

As COVID-19 continues to have a presence in the UK, The Department for Education and Ofqual has carried out a joint consultation for ‘Alternative Arrangements for the Award of VTQs and other General Qualifications in 2021’.

The purpose of this update is to provide information to our centres to support them with these changes and applies where assessments cannot be delivered through the adaptations that have been put in place.

Where assessments can be delivered in line with public health guidelines, they should continue to take place.

• Paper-based tests are on-demand and continue to be available.
• Online tests are on-demand and are available for Functional Skills English and Maths at Level 1 and Level 2.
• Remote invigilation for online tests is available. Invigilation can be carried out by trained college/centre/NOCN staff.
• Speaking, listening and communicating can be assessed remotely in adherence to NOCN guidance.
• In line with regulatory advice and guidance, Teachers are currently able to invigilate examinations.

Where assessments cannot be accessed, alternative arrangements can be considered through a Teacher Assessed Grade. Colleges/centres therefore need to continue to work with their learners and gather assessment evidence where possible.

• The (TAG) process has been decided as the best system possible, to ensure consistency and fairness, at a time where exams cannot be sat in the normal way.
• The TAG process will be carried out by Teachers (and supported by meeting ongoing learning with evidential thresholds e.g. IA/DA, ILP, ILR, Scheme of Work, Lesson Plans, Independent Work, Formative Assessment Results, Mock Assessments, IQA plan).

We will continue to share important information on our website and will provide further guidance at the earliest opportunity. If you have any queries, please contact or email