26 February 2021
A temporary flexibility was introduced by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in February 2020 to allow apprentices to take their apprenticeship end-point assessment (EPA) before their FSQ assessment, which must subsequently be completed make a commitment to take their Functional Skills Qualifications within three months of beginning their EPA.
This flexibility is only available to apprentices where all possibilities to access FSQ assessment via face-to-face and remote assessment have been exhausted.
To be eligible to take their EPA before achieving the required functional skills qualifications, the apprentice must:
- not be on a break in learning (an apprentice may return from a break in learning to take their end-point assessment)
- meet all other gateway criteria to progress to their EPA as specified in the apprenticeship standard (except meeting the English and maths requirements)
- have been confirmed by you and their employer as ready for both their EPA, and to take a functional skills qualification assessment
- start their EPA on or before 31 May 2021
- make a commitment to take their Functional Skills Qualifications within three months of beginning their EPA
The position on FSQ assessment was updated in February 2021 following DfE/Ofqual consultation. All efforts should continue to be made to support learners to take an assessment. This could be face-to-face in an education setting or at work, in line with public health measures, or remotely. A teacher assessed grade route should only be considered where this is not possible.
Visit the government’s guidance page on delivering apprenticeships through the COVID-19 pandemic for more details.
Enquiries surrounding arrangements for how the functional skills tests are taken in light of COVID-19 should be lodged with the relevant assessment organisation. If there are any further issues, these should be raised by employers, providers or apprentices with Ofqual by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.