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National Curriculum

Functional skills in the revised programme of study for ICT

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.

The ICT programme of study for key stage 4 embeds the level 2 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 of 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 2. This is summarised in Links with functional skills.

The curriculum opportunities section requires that students learn to make appropriate choices about when and where to use technology, including to manage themselves, their work and their learning. Students 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.

Functional skills in the ICT programme of study

The ICT programme of study for key stage 4 embeds the level 2 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 2 (see the table below).

The curriculum opportunities section requires that students learn to make appropriate choices about when and where to use technology, including to manage themselves, their work and their learning. Students 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 2 functional skill standard: use ICT systems

  • Select, interact with and use ICT systems independently for a complex task to meet a variety of needs

  • Use ICT to effectively plan work and evaluate the effectiveness of the ICT system used

  • Manage information storage to enable efficient retrieval

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

Key stage 4 programme of study

  • Explore, develop and interpret information to produce solutions that meet user needs (key processes). Select and use, with increasing integration and efficiency, the appropriate ICT tools for given problems (key processes). Use of increasingly demanding problems and more complex information from a wide range of sources in a variety of contexts (range and content). Use of a range of ICT tools to meet the needs of the user and solve problems (range and content)

  • Develop efficient and effective ICT-based solutions to a range of problems for themselves and others (key processes). Review, modify and evaluate work as it progresses (key processes). Evaluate the effectiveness of their own and others’ ICT-based solutions, using the results to improve the quality of their work and to inform future work (key processes)

  • Manage information storage and access, to secure content and enable efficient retrieval (range and content)

  • Use ICT safely and responsibly (key processes). Develop an understanding of the need to employ safe working practices in order to minimise physical stress (range and content). Keep information secure and minimise risks from computer viruses and other malicious practice (range and content).

Level 2 functional skill standard: find and select information

  • Select and use a variety of sources of information independently for a complex task

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

Key stage 4 programme of study

  • Select appropriate information from a wide range of sources, showing discrimination in their choices and judging the value, accuracy, plausibility and bias of information (key processes). Use of increasingly demanding problems and more complex information from a wide range of sources in a variety of contexts (range and content)

  • Select appropriate information from a wide range of sources, showing discrimination in their choices and judging the value, accuracy, plausibility and bias of information (key processes). Explore, develop and interpret information to produce solutions that meet user needs (key processes). Evaluate critically and justify information choices and act on feedback from others where appropriate (key processes).

Level 2 functional skill standard: devlop, present and communicate information

  • Enter, develop and format information independently 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, responsibly and effectively, including storage of messages and contacts lists.

Key stage 4 programme of study

  • Use a range of ICT tools and media to share, exchange and present information effectively in a variety of contexts (key processes). Create quality solutions that show they have considered how the information should be interpreted and presented in forms that suit audience, purpose and content (key processes)

  • Use a range of ICT tools and media to share, exchange and present information effectively in a variety of contexts (key processes). Use of increasingly demanding problems and more complex information from a wide range of sources in a variety of contexts (range and content)

  • Create quality solutions that show they have considered how the information should be interpreted and presented in forms that suit audience, purpose and content (key processes)

  • Review, modify and evaluate work as it progresses, reflecting critically and responding to user feedback (key processes). Evaluate the effectiveness of their own and others’ ICT-based solutions, using the results to improve the quality of their work and to inform future work (key processes)

  • Communicate and exchange information (including digital communication), safely, responsibly and securely (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 students 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 students 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 students to develop as independent learners.

When planning opportunities for students to develop and understand functional skills you should consider whether you have:

  • identified and planned for progression from level 1 in those aspects of functional skills that students are required to apply in the activities and problems they undertake

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

  • given students the chance to select the skills they need for a particular task and to apply them independently

  • planned problems of increasing complexity in which students are required to select and apply their functional skills for real purposes and contexts beyond the classroom.

For example, a sequence of activities that required students to propose plans for redeveloping a small piece of waste ground into a garden for elderly people would offer opportunities for students to select and apply a range of skills in a meaningful context.

To achieve a quality outcome students would need to select and apply a range of functional skills including:

  • select, interact with and use ICT systems independently for a complex task to meet a variety of needs

  • select and use a variety of sources of information independently for a complex task

  • 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 task 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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