Regulating Digital Functional Skills qualifications

Closes 27 Jan 2022

Opened 25 Nov 2021

Overview

Please find below the link to access the consultation questions

 

The Department for Education (referred to as the Department in this document) is introducing new qualifications called Digital Functional Skills qualifications (FSQs) that seek to provide students with the core digital skills needed to participate fully in society. The Department is introducing them as part of their plans to improve adult basic digital skills and the new qualifications will sit alongside Essential Digital Skills Qualifications as part of the government’s adult digital offer.

As set out by the Department, Digital FSQs will be introduced from August 2023 and will be new qualifications replacing the existing Functional Skills Qualifications in Information and Communication Technology (FSQs in ICT). Unlike FSQs in ICT, which are available at Level 1, Level 2 and Entry levels 1, 2 and 3, Digital FSQs will be based on Entry level and Level 1 subject content.

The Department published the final subject content on 29 October 2021 following a consultation in May 2019. Awarding organisations will use this subject content to create the new qualifications.

Ofqual will regulate Digital FSQs and consulted on initial policy proposals for the regulation of the new qualifications. This consultation took place at the same time as the Department’s consultation on the subject content. The decisions from that consultation are published alongside this second consultation on the regulatory arrangements for Digital FSQs.

In Part 1 of this consultation, Ofqual is consulting on the detail of the following proposals:

  • to set requirements around the weighting of marks allocated to the assessment of practical digital skills within assessments
  • to set requirements around the coverage and sampling of subject content
  • to issue guidance on the differentiation between qualification levels 
  • to issue guidance on assessment
  • to set requirements around the number of components and assessments
  • to set requirements around minimum and maximum assessment times
  • to introduce a Functional Skills Qualification Level Condition to ensure that awarding organisations will not be able to make FSQs in ICT at any level available after a 12-month transitional period

In Part 2, Ofqual is consulting on the subject-level and qualification-level Conditions, requirements and guidance which would give effect to the decisions already made, and the proposals, if implemented, following this consultation.

Views are welcomed on both the proposals and the draft subject-level and qualification-level Conditions, requirements and guidance.

Why your views matter

This consultation will be of particular interest to awarding organisations, as it sets out the detail of the rules with which they will have to comply.

However, this consultation is open to anyone who may wish to make a representation and may be of interest to:

  • students and apprentices who might study Digital FSQs
  • teachers, tutors, exam staff and other representatives from schools, colleges, training providers, apprenticeship providers, and other places where the Digital FSQs might be delivered in future
  • higher education institutions, further education colleges and training providers that may be making offers to students for future academic years
  • bodies representing educational institutions
  • bodies representing teachers or other staff working in the education sector
  • employers who might be receiving job applications from students taking these qualifications, or who might already employ these students
  • professional bodies, regulators and industry groups

Those with an interest in this work may also want to refer to the published decisions document, which sets out the decisions taken on the overall approach, following the previous consultation.

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Students
  • Parents and carers
  • Teachers
  • Schools and colleges
  • Regulated awarding organisations

Interests

  • Functional skills
  • Vocational and technical qualifications
  • Conditions and guidance
  • Regulation of awarding organisations