Funding for functional skills ‘to be doubled’

23rd November 2012

NIACE warmly welcomes the news that the funding for adult English and maths functional skills, and for English and maths within an Apprenticeship will be doubled, as announced by the Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock, on Tuesday 20 November.


Carol Taylor, Director of Development and Research, said:


“NIACE, in our national Inquiries into adult numeracy and adult literacy, called for a recognition that all adults need to be able to read and write to a functional level, and to be numerate, in order that they can play a full part in their family, in work and in society as a whole. This announcement by the Minister for Skills acknowledges the overwhelming importance of the functional skills of English and maths, by enabling providers to increase the provision they put on for learners.


“Over 3000 people took part in NIACE’s Maths Challenges at the recent Skills Show, and many asked for advice on how to improve their English and maths. One woman was able to do Entry Level English at college but unable to do maths as the college was not able to offer her a class. Today’s announcement will enable providers to offer quality provision at times and in places that will suit the needs of many more learners. We will continue to work with colleges and providers to help them develop both new ways and better quality to deliver functional skills for all learners, regardless of their age or the stage of their learning.”


In his speech to the Association of Colleges Annual Conference, the Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock, said:


“And there is one area where Britain should lead the world, but where sinfully we have allowed ourselves to fall behind. Here in these islands, we invented the English language that now dominates the globe. It is the global language: of trade, of culture, of diplomacy, and of the arts. And our history is littered with many of the advances in mathematics too.


“Yet too many of our young people cannot read or write, or add up properly. This is a scandal and it must change. We are reforming schools, and exams at 16, to make this happen. That great revolution will take a generation. But we don’t have a generation. And it often falls to you to pick up the pieces.


“So to show the value we attach to English and Maths, and to make sure you’ve got the resources to deliver, today I’m announcing we are doubling the amount we pay for adult English and Maths functional skills, and for English and Maths within an Apprenticeship. English and Maths are the foundation of learning and we must succeed.”