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National Curriculum

Functional skills in ICT

 

Introduction

The term ‘functional’ should be considered in the broad sense of providing learners with the skills and abilities they need to take an active and responsible role in their communities, in their everyday lives, workplaces and educational settings. Functional ICT requires learners to be able to use ICT in ways that make them effective and involved as citizens, able to operate confidently in life and to work in a wide range of contexts.

 

 

Functional skills in the ICT programme of study

The ICT programme of study for key stage 3 embeds the level 1 functional skills standards. The key concepts reflect the ICT functional skills standards:

  • ICT capability, where learners use a range of ICT tools in a purposeful way to tackle questions, solve problems and create ideas and solutions of value in a range of contexts, and in other areas of learning, work and life

  • communication and collaboration, where learners share and exchange information safely, effectively and responsibly

  • exploring ideas and manipulating information, and becoming aware of the impact of technology, including issues relating to risk and safety surrounding the use of ICT

  • critical evaluation of information and of the use of ICT.

The key processes and range and content sections of the programme of study clearly link with the functional ICT standards at level 1. Tthis is summarised in Links with functional skills.

The curriculum opportunities section requires that pupils learn to make appropriate choices about when and where to use technology. Pupils should also have opportunities to exhibit their functional skills by applying their learning to real-world situations within a range of contexts and in other subjects and areas of learning.

Links with functional skills

Level 1 functional skill standard: use ICT systems Interact with and use ICT systems independently to meet needs

  • Use ICT to plan work and evaluate their use of ICT systems

  • Manage information storage

  • Follow and understand the need for safety and security practices.

Key stage 3 programme of study

  • Select and use ICT tools and techniques appropriately, safely and efficiently (key processes)

  • Solve problems by developing, exploring and structuring information, and deriving new information for a particular purpose (key processes). Solve problems by developing, exploring and structuring information, and deriving new information for a particular purpose (key processes).

  • Solve problems by developing, exploring and structuring information, and deriving new information for a particular purpose (key processes). Reflect on their own and others’ uses of ICT to help them develop and improve their ideas and the quality of their work (key processes)

  • Developing an understanding of the need to: manage information organisation, storage and access to secure content and enable efficient retrieval (range and content)

  • Select and use ICT tools and techniques appropriately, safely and efficiently (key processes). Communicate and exchange information (including digital communication) effectively, safely and responsibly (key processes). Developing an understanding of the need to employ safe working practices in order to minimise physical stress (range and content).

Level 1 functional skill standard: find and select information

  • Select and use a variety of sources of information independently to meet needs

  • Access, search for, select and use ICT-based information and evaluate its fitness for purpose.

Key stage 3 programme of study

  • Consider systematically the information needed to solve a problem, complete a task or answer a question, and explore how it will be used (key processes)

  • Use and refine search methods to obtain information that is well matched to purpose, by selecting appropriate sources (key processes). Analyse and evaluate information, judging its value, accuracy, plausibility and bias (key processes).

Level 1 functional skill standard: develop, present and communicate information

  • Enter, develop and format information to suit its meaning and purpose

  • Bring together information to suit content and purpose

  • Present information in ways that are fit for purpose and audience

  • Evaluate the selection and use of ICT tools and facilities used to present information

  • Select and use ICT to communicate and exchange information safely, independently, responsibly and effectively.

Key stage 3 programme of study

  • Solve problems by developing, exploring and structuring information, and deriving new information for a particular purpose (key processes)

  • Bring together, draft and refine information including through the combination of text, sound and image (key processes)

  • Use a range of ICT tools to present information in forms that are fit for purpose, meet audience needs and suit the content (key processes)

  • Review, modify and evaluate work as it progresses, reflecting critically and using feedback (key processes). Reflect on their own and others’ uses of ICT to help them develop and improve their ides and the quality of their work (key processes). Use and review of the effectiveness of different ICT tools, including a range of software applications in terms of meeting user needs and solving problems (range and content)

  • Communicate and exchange information (including digital communication), effectively, safely and responsibly (key processes).

Planning for functional skills

Functional skills lie at the heart of the key concepts and key processes of the programme of study for ICT. The key concept of capability emphasises the need for pupils to be adaptable and apply their understanding in a widening range of contexts in other areas of learning, work and life. This is also at the heart of functional skills. In this way functional skills are much more than a set of technical competencies. They require pupils to select, apply and evaluate a range of skills to tackle tasks and problems. In conjunction with functional skills in English and mathematics, they provide the foundations for pupils to develop as independent learners.

When planning opportunities for pupils to develop and understand functional skills you should consider if you have:

  • identified those aspects of functional skills pupils are required to apply in the activities and problems they undertake

  • ensured that pupils understand that they are learning skills that they will use and apply in a variety of contexts

  • given pupils the chance to select the skills they need for a particular task

  • provided opportunities for pupils to apply these skills for real purposes and contexts beyond the classroom.

For example, a sequence of activities for year 9 pupils that required them to produce a multi-page brochure advertising an open evening at the school would offer opportunities for pupils to select and apply a range of skills in a meaningful context.

To achieve a quality outcome fit for the audience and purpose, including appropriate text, images and layout, pupils would need to select and apply a range of functional skills including:

  • interact with and use ICT systems independently to meet needs

  • manage information storage

  • bring together information to suit content and purpose

  • enter, develop and format information independently to suit its meaning and purpose

  • present information in ways that are fit for purpose

  • evaluate the selection and use of ICT tools and facilities used to present information.

A series of tasks like this also has the potential to be developed in conjunction with other subject areas and to provide opportunities to develop functional skills in mathematics and English as well as ICT.

Quick links

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