Functional skills are practical skills in literacy (English), numeracy (Mathematics) and Information and Communication Technology that provide every individual with skills that help them to function independently, effectively and confidently in their life. These skills are essential for further learning, employment since they are basic skills needed for most jobs. So functional skills should be integrated into the curriculum and allow learners to apply these skills in real life. The knowledge within the subject has to be linked with the practical skills, helping them to think creatively.
Numeracy (Mathematics Skills)
These skills help to understand various mathematical concepts, and also how to apply them. It helps increase analytical, problem solving and reasoning skills, identify errors and validate results. It helps use numbers and calculations to process data, solve complex problems and helps with logical working, interpretation and comparison of results in various forms like tables, graphs, charts and diagrams.
Functional skills are the essential elements of English, mathematics and ICT. They are a key element of the 14-19 reforms, helping young people to develop higher levels of practical skill in English, mathematics and ICT which they can apply to real life contexts. Functional skills are already part of the curriculum for Key Stage 3 and by September 2010 will be a core part of each of the four qualification routes for young people, including GCSEs. Rather than being taught as separate curriculum subjects, functional skills are applied to the teaching and learning of all subjects.
Schools already teaching functional skills have found it is a more engaging way to teach and learn. Teachers have provided opportunities for pupils to apply their knowledge and skills to real life situations. Pupils have been enthusiastic about learning academic subjects in the context of real life, which gives more relevance to what they are studying.