Developing the Application of Functional Skills at KS3

School or setting

Authored by:
Randall Jull
Co-authored by:
Helen Blanchard
Brune Park Community College
Type of school:
Local Authority:
South East
Free school meals:
Less than 20%


Year groups:
Year 7, Year 8
At age-related expectation
Whole school:
People involved:
LA adviser, Teacher
Number of classes:
12 per year group in each of two years

What were your reasons for doing this type of development work?

At Brune Park, we are aware that our students have difficulties with two particular aspects of learning - understanding how to solve a problem by using their current knowledge and skills, and seeing the links between subjects across the curriculum. We believe that if we can address these weaknesses, our pupils will perform better across all subjects, and will be better prepared for the future, both in school and beyond.

We decided to design a course to address the functional skills criteria that would develop our students' ability and confidence in solving real life problems, drawing on skills and knowledge from a range of subject areas.

Who might find this case study useful?

  • Headteacher
  • Middle leader
  • Senior leadership team (SLT)
  • Subject leader
  • Teacher

Key points

Point 1

Developing pupils' ability to apply their learning from a range of subjects, independently and with confidence

Point 2

Planning and delivering a series of 'Applied Learning' lessons which address the functional skills criteria

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  • What

    The intention was to equip pupils so they were able to apply their learning with independence and confidence in increasingly complex problem-solving situations. Approaches included cross-curricular work and learning conversations.

  • Impact

    It was found that pupils had an increasing awareness of the skills they used and understanding of how to structure a solution to a problem. Teachers developed their skills in encouraging pupils to work independently. The leadership team are now looking for ways to develop the pedagogy of applied learning across the school.

  • Summary

    The crucial thing that made a difference was the cross-curricular nature of the applied learning.