Good News For Learners!

Good news for learners on the legacy Functional Skills and those on apprenticeships who only need to achieve Level 1 Maths and English with the Secretary of States announcements on October 14th.

Extensions to Legacy Functional Skills are to be put in place to 31 July 2021.

The temporary suspension of the rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills exams to 31 March 2021 was also confirmed.

At least that takes the pressure off some learners a little, and every little helps!

New Apprenticeship Scheme

New apprenticeship scheme highlights that care is needed!


As we all adapt to the ‘new norm’ and businesses start returning to work, please give some thought to the new latest Government scheme to take on new apprentices. 

Small businesses that offer training for young people aged between 16 and 24 will be given cash “bonuses” of grants worth £2000 per youth up to a maximum of £10,000 per organisation. This on-the-job training is seen as a gateway to important skill development for young people through an apprenticeship and, ultimately, longer-term employment.

As an experienced education consultant and trainer, I urge businesses to carefully consider how they would use these new apprenticeship opportunities to support their organisation’s recovery and future development, post-COVID 19. 

I believe that tangible care needs to be undertaken to ensure that the apprentice is a correct ‘fit’ for the business and that training providers give the optimum level of support to the apprentice and employer to ensure that a successful relationship is brokered.

How to deploy an individualised apprentice programme

An individualised apprentice training programme needs to be implemented, informed via efficient baseline screening. Effective screening is important to support the development of a meaningful learning plan, that will meet the needs of both the employer and apprentice.

Creating Excellence welcomes this latest Apprenticeship Government initiative to help to kickstart jobs, however, the pandemic has brought significant changes to the post-16 education sector that need to be addressed in a careful, creative and considered way. We also all need to understand that training will have to encompass a more online approach, not only because it is a more cost-effective and versatile method of delivery, but it will mean that learning can continue if learners face even further disruption to their working patterns.

Additionally, in our opinion, the shift in apprenticeship delivery from frameworks to standards needs a completely different approach when planning training and teaching, something that is not always evident in the programme planning process. 

Content needs to be engaging

To be meaningful, the learning content needs to have real value and be engaging for learners. If the future of teaching is to encompass a blended split between face-to-face and online coverage, something we are already seeing in many schools and colleges, the delivery must be much more effective than has been experienced by many in the lockdown months. Many of us are aware of an abundance of students that have had a less than an OK learning experience, a situation that is causing grave concern for parents around the longer-term impact on the education of young people. 

We also believe that the new legal entitlement for essential digital skills – alongside maths and English and a first Level 2/3 – is further a significant change and opportunity, because there are over 11 million adults in the UK who do not possess the basic level of digital skills. A fact that is likely to also impact on the ability of younger people to interact with the technology they will need to access, in order to progress. 

We believe that this increased legal entitlement, alongside some of the AEB flexibilities, can provide a great and unique opportunity for training providers to diversify and build capacity in their business while supporting the kickstart initiatives being implemented by the government.

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About the author

Christine Edwards | Creating ExcellenceChristine Edwards QTLS is an English and numeracy expert, who has 45 years experience across the private, public and self-employed sectors.

She is a Personal Development Lead and staff trainer and has been an assessor, verifier, apprenticeship teacher/tutor and quality manager.

She was also a key person in several Ofsted inspections and strongly supports a whole organisational approach to maths and English.