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Variously known as Core Skills, Key Skills or Functional Skills, these are frequently re-vamped and trotted out by successive Governments and their agencies as "new initiatives".


According to the (then) Department for Education and Employment: "Key Skills are the general skills that we as individuals need to succeed both in working and in adult life.  They are skills for which it is possible to set national standards and whose achievements can be objectively assessed."

  • Communication

  • Application of number

  • Information technology

  • Working with others

  • Improving own learning and performance

  • Problem solving.

The first three of these skills together formed what is known as the Key Skills Qualification. It was introduced by the government as part of the Curriculum 2000 reforms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Learning and Teaching Scotland advocate a slightly different set of Core Skills and a separate qualification.  (Click here for more details of LTS)


In 2010, at the request of the (then) Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) defined Functional Skills as the practical skills in English, information and communication technology (ICT) and mathematics that would allow individuals to work confidently, effectively and independently in life.


These were to be incorporated as part of the new Diplomas, as part of the Foundation Learning programme, and also into Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4 provision - as well as being available as stand-alone qualifications.




Check out the BBC Skillswise site for useful resources etc.