The Education and Training Foundation has been asked to draw up a “programme of reform” for functional skills qualifications, Skills Minister Nick Boles has announced.

In a letter to providers, Mr Boles said he was tasking the Foundation with coming up with ideas to make the qualifications a “well-respected and credible” alternative to GCSEs.

It comes after an ETF review of the qualifications led by former Jersey principal Professor Ed Sallis earlier this year found they were “not broken, but could be improved”.

In his letter, Mr Boles said: “In my previous letter, I mentioned that I had commissioned the Education and Training Foundation to carry out a review of the best way to achieve and accredit maths and English in post-16 education outside of GCSEs.

“The Foundation’s recommendations, published in March 2015, provide valuable new evidence for improving the quality and recognition of functional skills qualifications to ensure they meet the needs of employers and learners.

“I believe that Functional Skills should continue to be the main alternative English and Maths qualifications to GCSEs. However, to be well-respected and credible, it is critical they suit employers’ needs and are properly taught and assessed.

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