Responding to today's publication by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation of their strategy to solve UK poverty, Sue Southwood, Head of Maths and English, Education and Training Foundation said:

"Weakness in maths and English skills has long been linked to difficulty securing good work. Improving skills in reading, writing and numeracy should help people of all ages into sustained employment and hopefully out of poverty.

"We believe that reformed Functional Skills qualifications in both maths and English will play a significant role. Rigorous and relevant qualifications trusted by employers will help to fulfil the report’s ambition, that by 2030 all adults should have the skills they need to function effectively in everyday life.

"Currently, according to this report, millions of adults are unable to 'write short messages', 'use a cash-point', 'understand price labels on food' or 'pay household bills'. These, however, are all examples of what Functional Skills qualifications will teach.

“We are currently developing robust, dynamic and inclusive exemplar curricula which will mean learners gain both the confidence and competence to use maths and English in all areas of life.

"Revised Functional Skills qualifications will also help develop the skills that employers tell us they urgently need their workforce to have in a modern economy. Not only will the prospects of employment for millions of people - who were previously 'left behind' - increase, but they will be able to thrive in their careers and not just survive.

"Our proposed subject content for reformed maths and English Functional Skills qualifications is open for comment until Monday 12 September. Your input and feedback will help us to build robust and credible qualifications that provide the skills for people to progress in work, study and life."

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