The Diploma

Every accredited Diploma qualification requires the student to pass all three functional skills at level 1 (Foundation Diploma), or level 2 (Higher or Advanced Diploma). 


Key skills were extended until August 2012. Organisations offering Apprenticeships will have the choice of offering key skills, functional skills or the new GCSE with increased functional content qualifications from September 2010 until August 2012.  

Foundation learning

All Foundation learning programmes include functional skills as a component within their progression pathways, at the level appropriate for the student.


Revised GCSE qualifications in English, mathematics and ICT will be introduced in schools in September 2010. There is some assessment of functional skills through the GCSEs, but candidates are not required to pass separate functional skills qualifications in order to pass their GCSEs.

Key skills and Skills for Life

Key skills qualifications in communication, application of number and ICT at all levels will be withdrawn in England from 31 August 2010 (apart from those registered on apprenticeship frameworks).

Skills for Life literacy and numeracy qualifications will continue to be available until August 2011, when they will also be withdrawn from the list of approved qualifications for students under 19.

The Coalition Government has committed to creating more flexibility in the exams system, to giving schools greater freedom over the curriculum and to reforming vocational education to support progression. Work in these areas is under way and detailed plans for reform will be set out in due course.