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What are Functional Skills?Functional skills are the essential skills that people need for everyday life. For example, they enable us to read, write, and use numbers. There are three main types of functional skills: English, Maths and ICT. Each of these is divided into various levels, such as Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2. Each type of functional skill has its own set of specific abilities. For example, literacy skills involve reading and writing; numeracy skills involve the ability to use numbers; ICT skills include using computers, and communication skills involve communicating effectively with others.
What is GCSE?GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education, a qualification taken by students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland aged 14-16. The GCSE was introduced in 1988 to replace the previous O-Level and CSE qualifications. GCSEs are generally taken over two years, with exams at the end of each year. Students take a variety of subjects, including English, Maths, Science, Languages and Humanities. In recent years there has been an increase in students taking vocational subjects such as business studies or IT.
The Differences Between GCSE and Functional SkillsFunctional Skills are a new type of qualification that has been introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of the government’s plans to raise standards. GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) are the formal academic qualifications young people take at the end of compulsory education. There are some key differences between Functional Skills and GCSEs:
- Functional Skills are available at three levels ( Entry Level, Level One and Level Two), whereas GCSEs are only available at Levels One and Two.
- Functional Skills can be taken by anyone aged 16 or over, regardless of whether they are still in education. However, GCSEs can only be taken by young people who are still in education.
- Functional Skills are assessed through written, oral and practical tests, whereas GCSEs are assessed entirely through written exams.
- Functional Skills qualifications are recognised by employers and universities, whereas universities only recognise GCSEs.