DfE relaxes functional skills rule for apprentices

The government has relaxed the requirement for level 2 apprentices to achieve their functional skills qualification.

This morning, Ofqual confirmed that students due to take functional skills assessments this summer would receive a calculated grade in most cases due to Covid-19.

The Department for Education said that in light of this guidance, and the fact that scheduled functional skills assessments are not taking place, the rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, these assessments at level 2 is “suspended temporarily”.

“This will allow apprentices, employers, providers, and end point assessment organisations, to focus on other key requirements for completion of a level 2 apprenticeship,” they added.

It means that apprentices who are due to take their end point assessment (EPA) up until 31 July 2020 should be passed through gateway to sit their EPA “without the need to attempt the level 2 functional skills English and maths assessment”.

Providers have been told to “retain evidence” if an apprentice did not take the assessments due to COVID-19.

The DfE added that a level 2 apprentice will still require a level 1 functional skills in English and/or maths in order to complete apprenticeship.

The position will be reviewed in July to determine whether the suspension should continue.

Apprentices undertaking a level 3 or higher apprenticeship are “still required to hold or achieve an approved level 2 functional skills English and maths qualification, before they can successfully complete their apprenticeship”.

The DfE also said that it is aware that awarding organisations are currently “unable to issue certificates” confirming that apprentices have completed the necessary qualifications to go through gateway.

Therefore, as a temporary arrangement, it will support providers and employers in accepting a “confirmation email” from the awarding organisation as evidence of achievement.