FS COVID-19 Support
Functional Skills Exams - January 2021 update
Last updated 6 January 2021, 17:00 hrs
The DfE confirmed on 4 January that they expect vocational exams to go ahead and it has updated that guidance (5 January) to give schools, colleges and training providers the choice to offer students vocational exams, should schools and colleges judge it right to do so. You can find our full response here. Please also see the message from Simon Lebus Chief Regulator at Ofqual about Exams in 2021. We will continue to share more details with you as they become available.
We are continually updating this FS COVID-19 support page with the latest information as it becomes available, please check back regularly for latest updates.
Supporting Functional Skills providers through COVID-19
We are bringing together resources and information to support your delivery, assessment and certification of Functional Skills to enable your learners to continue their progress in life and work. We are working with Ofqual to develop the fairest and most effective alternative arrangements for the assessment of Functional Skills.
Under normal circumstances invigilation of Functional Skills tests must be conducted face to face within the centre or workplace. However, if this is not possible due to COVID 19 restrictions, you can request an exception to this rule and make use of video conferencing software – for example Teams, Zoom, Meet etc.
The centre will continue to act as the invigilator, monitoring the learner via the video conferencing software and remains responsible for ensuring the security and integrity of the test content is maintained at all times.
The centre must make clear in any exception request how they will manage this process and ensure learners’ remote location is appropriate.
The centre is responsible for first line support to their learners in relation to the installation of any onscreen test software and any issues which may arise during the test itself.
The centre must ensure any other associated risks related to this exception will be managed to ensure the assessment is still completed securely.
The centre must advise Pearson of all tests for which they intend to make use of this process using an online form.
To request this exceptional arrangement you must contact us using the Invigilation Exemption Request Form. Further detailed guidance is available after approval, including learner guidance; centre guidance, software installation guidance and an online form which must be completed for every learner for whom this arrangement will be used.
Further details on our standard invigilation rules are in our Instructions for conducting examinations guidance (PDF | 606KB).
Under normal circumstances, invigilation of Functional Skills tests must be conducted by the centre. However, if this is not possible due to COVID 19 restrictions you can request an exception to this meaning an employer can act as the invigilator for the test.
The centre remains responsible for the training of the invigilator and must make clear in any request: how they will manage this process and ensure employer invigilators are fully trained; how the assessment is still being conducted in an appropriate setting; how completed assessments can be kept secure and returned to the centre to be shared securely with the awarding body for marking and how any other associated risks related to this exception will be managed to ensure the assessment is still completed securely.
To request an exceptional arrangement, you must contact us using the Invigilation Exemption Request Form.
Further details on our standard invigilation rules are in our Instructions for conducting examinations guidance (PDF | 606 KB).
We are allowing SLC assessments to be conducted remotely using appropriate technologies. All remote assessments must be recorded and a Pearson Standards Verifier may ask to attend a live assessment as part of our monitoring activities.
In exceptional circumstances, where a learner has to self-isolate due to COVID 19, we will allow centres to extend the ‘5-day window’ for PBOD tests up to 14 days. Centres must request this extension and outline how they will ensure all PBOD materials are retained securely during the 14-day period to manage any risks to the security of the assessment during that time.
To request an extension to the ‘5-day window’ because a learner is self-isolating and cannot take the assessment within the normal 5-day period you must contact us using the Invigilation Exemption Request Form.
Further details on paper based on demand assessment rules are in our Instructions for conducting examinations guidance (PDF | 600 KB).
These short and easy to digest online lessons have been broken down into specific areas of learning. Targeting such areas that are either new to the qualifications through the reform or areas which have proved challenging in the past.
Current lessons that are available are list below. Continue to check back to our website for any further additions.
- Functional Skills Maths | Level 1 | Bearings
- Functional Skills Maths | Level 2 | Estimating Mean from Grouped Frequency
- Functional Skills English | All Levels | Spelling Strategies