English Functional Skills

Sixth Form

Please contact us to register your interest for the next available start date.

Course introduction

As a student on a Functional Skills English course you will learn and practise the skills needed to communicate confidently, effectively and independently. This course supports the practical development of your English skills enabling you to gain the most out of your work, education and day to day life. During the course you will focus on three areas; Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening.

You will be required to attend for two hours per week. Functional Skills are also a mandatory requirement for apprenticeship frameworks.

A level 2 Functional Skills qualification can be a requirement for work or further education and can be used in preparation for a GCSE course.     

Course structure

Your timetable is based around two hours of instruction per week over three terms.  Shorter courses are arranged for apprentices to fit in with other training at college and in the work-place.

Prior to joining a Functional Skills English course you will be initially assessed to identify your individual strengths and needs.  These initial assessments are then used to plan levels and programmes of learning.  Classes are usually made up of students on the same or similar main courses (e.g. vocational or academic courses).

The emphasis of teaching is on building up the practical communication skills that you already have so that you can gain the most from life, learning and work.  The context for learning is a range of real life contexts and scenarios, such as reading and writing instructions, articles, letters, e-mails and job applications.  In addition, the course will cover practical strategies to revise and improve spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Teaching methods include tutor-led sessions, tutorials and discussions, plus individual, paired and group tasks.  The course also has its own Functional Skills English e-learning site that students can access in and out of college.   


Minimum entry requirements

These qualifications are for students:
• Who have not achieved a Grade C in English GCSE.
• On apprenticeships requiring Functional Skills for their apprenticeship framework

How will I be assessed?

The Edexcel Functional Skills English qualification is assessed in three units:
• Unit 1 - Speaking, Listening and Communication Exam.  This takes approximately 30 minutes in total and is assessed by the course tutor.
• Unit 2 – Reading Exam.  This is a 45mins/ 1 hour, externally marked, paper.
• Unit 3 – Writing Exam.  This is a 45mins /1 hour, externally marked, paper.

You must achieve a pass in all three units to achieve the qualification.  At Brockenhurst College, all Reading and Writing exams are paper-based and take place at set times during the year. 

The qualification will be awarded as a pass or fail, and a pass for any unit can be carried forward until all three are passed. 

Example examination papers are available on the course e-learning website and on the Edexcel website too (http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-functional-skills.html).

Information & support

In class, you will be supported by the course tutor and, where required, a learning assistant (LA).  The course e-learning site provides additional information and learning resources and is accessible both inside and outside the college.  In addition, the college’s Skills Development Team is available to provide specialist support to students with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Further information on this qualification is available through the following links:

• Edexcel/Pearson Website: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-functional-skills/About.html 
• Edexcel/ Pearson Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdexcelStudents?_rdr

What can I do with this qualification?

Level 1 will allow progress to Level 2 Functional Skills.

Level 2 will allow progression to GSCE English. 

English Functional Skills qualifications will improve your skills in day to day life and can be a requirement for further/higher education or employment. 


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  • I have really enjoyed the atmosphere here at Brock. It’s easy to speak to your teachers, almost as an equal, which makes a big difference to the experience.

    Chloe Murphy

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