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Functional Skills Reforms – Providers in uproar over new invigilator rules

So here we are, the new reformed Functional Skills English and Maths are now well under way, since their inception in September 2019.

These new qualifications have undergone extensive technical evaluation to ensure that they are fit for purpose; with promises that job opportunities will be greatly increased to individuals holding these qualifications. However, what does this mean to training providers who are delivering teaching to students who are undertaking these qualifications?

Overall, the consensus is that these qualifications were long overdue an overhaul and any improvements made can only be for the better. With more emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar for English, surely that can’t be a bad thing! Maths now requires students to be able to complete calculations with and without a calculator; should that not be a matter of course anyway?

Well, that all seems perfectly reasonable but the part that seems to be unsettling providers is the new rules regarding invigilators.

Ofqual have confirmed that in the case of FSQs at levels 1 and 2, subject Tutors should not be involved in the invigilation of that subject, even if they have not taught the learners in question. 

Angela Wilson of Learn Now Distance Learning College commented:

“Whilst I can understand that the student’s Tutor would not be allowed to invigilate, is it really realistic to say that no Tutor administering the same subject is allowed to invigilate? This can be an issue with on the job training or where examinations need to be taken off site due to logistical problems”.

Learn Now deliver Functional Skills online courses and are no stranger to reformed qualifications, with the recent changes to A’ Level and GCSE courses over the past five years.

Ofqual have confirmed that they are currently liaising with awarding bodies to allow exceptions to be put in place under certain specific circumstances and as long as providers can meet the requirements and gain permission in advance, examinations will not be affected. They do however state that although they realise there will be some work to do to put these exceptions in place, it is expected that this situation will be resolved reasonable quickly.

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