STATEMENT - NEW FUNCTIONAL SKILLS QUALIFICATIONS
New Functional Skills Qualifications
NOCN offer qualifications in Functional Skills English, maths and ICT. NOCN’s Functional Skills qualifications aim to maintain the flexibility and workplace relevance of the legacy qualifications, whilst providing tools that enable learners to develop. The qualifications aim to ensure that learners have demonstrated the knowledge and skills that employers need through the attainment of the learning aims and outcomes set out at each level.
The Functional Skills English and maths suite of qualifications from Entry level to Level 2 have been designed to assist learners of all ages and levels to be able to confidently demonstrate the practical skills needed in real-life situations.
NOCN Functional Skills Qualifications are available for registration, our offer includes new assessments at all 5 levels from Entry Level 1 to Level 2. The assessments are available on demand, on paper. Sample assessments for all 5 levels are available on our secure website MyNOCN.
The Functional Skills reform sought to bring Functional Skills qualifications in line with other English and maths qualifications, in doing so, the security of the assessment materials themselves was identified as an area for enhancement. To ensure the security of the assessments, invigilation at Level 1 and Level 2 required a different set of parameters.
NOCN have worked with the regulator and Awarding Organisations to set out the principles that demonstrate how we meet our regulatory requirements for the invigilation of Level 1 and Level 2 Functional Skills assessments in English and maths. We have published an Invigilation Quick Guide which explains the requirements for invigilation on our Functional Skills page.
The following statement is the Joint Awarding Organisation position on the administration of level 1 and 2 Functional Skills Examinations.
The head of centre must ensure that:
Administration of exams
(‘Administration’ includes initial receipt of confidential materials, secure storage, movement and preparation of materials for scheduled assessments, and registration, secure storage and return of materials to the awarding organisation after scheduled exams are completed).
a. No tutor of a Functional Skills qualification can be involved in the administration of the assessment materials for level 1 and 2 exams in that subject, regardless of the level they teach.
Invigilation of exams
b. A Functional Skills subject tutor must not be involved in the invigilation of that subject, even if they have not taught those candidates (i.e., a Functional Skills English tutor must not invigilate any Functional Skills English exam and a Functional Skills Maths tutor must not invigilate any Functional Skills Maths exam, regardless of the level they teach).
A centre must ensure that it has a suitable invigilator available for all level 1 and 2 Functional Skills exams.
There are no automatic exceptions to this rule. In exceptional circumstances, where only a tutor can access the assessment location and/or the candidates, some adjustment may be granted by prior arrangement with, and at the discretion of, the awarding organisation.
Any exception on these grounds must be agreed by NOCN in advance of the exam date. An exception may also require the centre to agree to additional measures to ensure the security of materials and additional monitoring by NOCN.
Ofqual have published a statement on Functional Skills invigilation on their blog, which you can view here: Ofqual blog. Ofqual have stated that they have granted awarding organisations the discretion to be able to agree the needs of the centre in advance based on risk based measures. Ofqual have stated on their blog circumstances where it is reasonable to allow exemptions, these may include:
• restrictions within the centre on the grounds of security or safeguarding; or
• where an assessment is conducted at the candidate’s workplace and an assessment centre is not available locally; or
• the remote location of the candidate’s workplace/assessment location; or
• as part of a reasonable adjustment request for a specific learner
If you consider that your centre may need an exemption, you will need to contact NOCN. NOCN will require details of your situation, any actions you intend to take in order to mitigate risk to the live assessments.
Functional Skills English, maths and ICT are essential to enabling learners with the skills required to live, learn and work effectively. They empower people by improving these skills for real life situations and the workplace.
NOCN Functional Skills are available from Entry 1 to Level 2 for learners in England. Functional Skills are available for a range of ages and abilities and are key to frameworks such as apprenticeships.
Functional Skills are applied, practical and relevant and can be tailored to suit the needs of Entry level learner. Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications support the development and enhancement of learners into a range of work and life situations.
Our Functional Skills qualifications are high quality, recognised and respected by schools, colleges, training providers and employers. They can also form part of an apprenticeship.
Search the name of the qualification below to view the relevant qualification documentation:
If your organisation wants to use one of these qualifications, it will need to become an NOCN centre or call us on 0114 2270534.
Our Functional Skills Key Information is available for recognised centres to provide information regarding reasonable adjustments, transfer of credits and feedback requests.
Our Functional Skills resources for English, maths and ICT are available via My NOCN for guidance and assessment preparation.
If your organisation wants to use these qualifications, it will need to become an NOCN centre or please call 0300 999 1177 for further information.
If you're interested in Essential Skills in Northern Ireland please visit
Helpful downloads for centres including: Reasonable Adjustment Application form, Transfer of Credit form and Feedback Report Request formFind out more