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Functional Skills

What Is Functional Skills Level 2 Equivalent To?


Lead Academy

9 Mins Read

Functional Skills can be an excellent option for those who have left school without the GCSEs or find GCSEs difficult. If you still desire to hone your skills in Maths, English or ICT, it’s not too late to qualify. Functional Skills are a recognised alternative to GCSEs, with a Level 2 equivalent to a GCSE grade 9 to 4 or A* to C.

Functional skills were introduced in the UK to develop the literacy and numeracy skills needed to kickstart work-life. Through these skills, you can build your confidence in Maths, English and ICT to help you pursue your ambitions.

Functional Skills equip students with the practical skills required for personal and work life. They also help with apprenticeships and further education. 

Learn what is Functional Skills Level 2 equivalent to from this blog.

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills are the core competencies of English, Maths and ICT skills that people need for better performance in their work and personal lives. Studying these fundamental courses in real-life contexts allows individuals to operate confidently and effectively in life and work.

Proficiency in essential subjects like English, Maths and ICT opens the door to a wide range of opportunities, including apprenticeships and employability. Through Functional Skills, you can also develop practical problem-solving skills.

Functional Skills can be studied as an alternative to GCSEs. This is particularly ideal for people who could not achieve a grade 4 (or a C) at GCSE.

What are the Levels of Functional Skills?

There are Entry Levels 1-3 and Levels 1 and 2 of Functional Skills. Level 1 Functional Skills are equivalent to a GCSE Grade D to E (3 to 2), and Level 2 Functional Skills are equivalent to GCSE Grade A* to C (9 to 4).

  • Entry levels 1, 2 and 3 require 45 hours of guided learning and a total qualification time of 47 hours. 
  • Level 1 requires 45 hours of guided learning and a total qualification time of 50 hours.
  • Level 2 requires 45 hours of guided learning and a total qualification time of 54 hours. 

Functional Skills Level 2 Courses

The Functional Skills courses comprise core subjects which are Maths, English and ICT. The following gives an insight to the topics covered by the courses.

Functional Skills English Level 2

Functional Skills English Level 2 focuses on-

Reading – Reading for information such as looking at a piece of work to help you work out how much you can trust the opinions of certain authors.
Writing – Writing tests your spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. It also enables you to write letters, newspaper articles, emails and blogs.

Speaking, Listening and Communication- These enable you to learn how to contribute to discussions, present ideas and information clearly and persuasively, taking audiences, purposes and situations into consideration.

Functional Skills Maths Level 2

Functional Skills Maths Level 2 Courses will provide you with all the useful mathematical knowledge like using numbers, understanding measures, shapes and so on.
Using numbers – You will learn whole numbers, decimals, fractions and percentages along with how to solve real problems using these skills, including making decisions about purchases, using ratios in recipes and deciding whether your bills are correct.

Handling data – Summarising and presenting information you have found, understanding the information that other people share with you, and looking at the probability and how likely certain things are to happen are covered here. You will also learn how to spot patterns and data and statistics. 

Understanding measure, shape and space – This will cover topics like area and distance, time, speed and temperature. You will understand how to solve problems involving time to plan your home or work life and use your understanding of shape and area for reading a map or planning a house renovation.

Functional Skills ICT Level 2

Functional Skills ICT helps develop the practical skills needed for using technology in daily life, study and work and tests your problem-solving, research, and interpretation skills. It further covers topics like-

Fundamentals of using a computer- Managing files, folders, passwords, security and how to deal with common IT issues.

Word processing – The different features of word processing software to create text-based documents, engaging documents using images, tables and other formatting features.

Spreadsheets- How to use spreadsheets to record information, how to complete calculations to analyse data and ways to present data using charts and graphs.

Using the internet – Sending and receiving emails, sending attachments and organising your contacts in an address book along with how to use the internet effectively and safely.

Presentation- Using software to create a slideshow with text and images, transitions and animations.

Database – Using database software to record larger amounts of data and complete detailed searches for specific information. 

Some Key Information about Functional Skills

Essential information for learners include:

  • Initial assessments will find out your strengths and learning needs. 
  • Functional Skills will focus on problem-solving and helping you to develop the skills you will need in real-life contexts. 
  • Final assessments can be either paper-based or computer-based. The assessments will be about showing how you can apply your skills and solve problems in realistic situations.

Why are Functional Skills Important?

Functional Skills Important


Functional skill enhances practical problem-solving skills and provides people with a more relatable way of learning and applying knowledge. In addition, the skills allow students to understand numbers and mathematical concepts better and improve reading, writing and communication skills. 

Functional Skills English prepares learners to understand and participate in workplace discussions, interpret pieces of writing and instructions, as well as to convey their opinions clearly. Functional Skills Maths help learners to solve problems, use fractions and other calculations. One can apply this to solve business problems and meet employers’ need.

Since many careers now include an element of technology, it has become imperative to develop ICT skills and be familiar with how to use the various hardware and applications available. 

The three core skills improve job performance by increasing efficiency and productivity as it enables an apprentice to apply their knowledge in real-life situations. 

How are Functional Skills Assessed?

Functional Skills are assessed by a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.  The exams can be either online or a paper-based assessment.  The Entry levels are usually paper-based and are assessed internally. Further, Level 1 and Level 2 are externally evaluated and carried out in exam conditions at the assessment centre. 

What is Functional Skills Level 2 Equivalent to?

Functional Skills are considered to be a GCSE equivalent qualification; however, Functional Skills are not identical to GCSEs. Functional Skills at Level 2 is equivalent to a GCSE grade 9 to 4 (A* to C in the old GCSE grading system). 

What is the Pass Mark of Functional Skills Level 2?

According to OCR, for Functional skills English Level 2, “Reading Level 2 assessments are designed to have a pass mark in the range of 13-15 marks. Writing Level 2 assessments are designed to have a pass mark in the range of 21-23 marks.” 

For Functional Skills Maths Level 2, “Both Level 1 and Level 2 assessments are designed to have a pass mark in the range of 32-37 marks.” 

For ICT Level 2, “Level 2 assessments are designed to have a pass mark in the range of 47-49 marks.”

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What is the Difference between Functional Skills and GCSE?

The key difference between GCSEs and Functional Skills qualifications is that the former tests your academic ability, whereas the latter exists to test how you can apply your knowledge in everyday situations. 

The time it takes to achieve the qualifications is also different. While it takes two years to complete GCSE, one can complete Functional Skills within a few weeks. 

Functional Skills provide adult learners with the knowledge to confidently use English, Maths and ICT skills in everyday life and in the workplace. In addition to providing you with the three core skills, GCSE focuses on theories and tests your academic ability. 

For example, GCSE English Language explores and analyses the syntax, morphology and phonology of the English language, but Functional Skills Level 2 concentrates on reading and writing comprehension, unlike GCSE. 

Functional Skills will be the right choice for you if you are looking for a more hands-on qualification. The skills provide students with long-lasting knowledge they can utilise throughout life. Many people passing their GCSEs at 16 often forgets much of what they have learned. 

Is Functional Skills harder than GCSE?

Functional skills are better suited to students who have failed in maths and English; however, that does not mean functional skills are easier. Just like GCSE and any other exams, you will still need to put in the hard work and revision. The trouble with GCSE is that exam questions are often not in context, unlike functional skills. 

Functional Skills or GCSE- Which one is better? 

GCSE and Functional Skills qualifications-both are essential for anyone who wants to build a solid foundation of skill sets with the basics of English, Maths and ICT.

Whether you want to study functional skills or GCSE, it should depend on why you are studying the qualification and what you wish to gain from it. You should go for functional skills if you want to present your literacy and numeracy skills to an employer or boost your confidence when working with words and numbers. 

On the other hand, if you desire to qualify as evidence of your academic abilities and skills, GCSEs are ideal. GCSEs pave the path to higher education and create the opportunity for entry to a number of skilled career paths.

Both the Functional Skills and GCSEs offer the chance to upgrade your skills and succeed. Which of these you prefer to study would depend on the purpose of your study and the goals you want to achieve.


Whether you plan to prosper in your future career or want to help your children with homework, Functional Skills can benefit you. Anyone willing to upgrade their core competencies can access Functional skills online.

If you are looking for GCSE Equivalent Functional Skill courses, do visit Lead Academy to experience the best online learning. 

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