Functional Skills external assessment update – WC Monday 7 October

Due to the changes of Functional Skills qualifications and the processes around them in line with the reform, we need to make you aware of important information regarding assessment dates, fees, invigilation and documents. Please find this information below. 

Paper based external assessment

Important dates

  • Our first paper based assessment window is Monday 14 October – Friday 18 October. Please refer to the External Assessment Timetable for all other paper based assessment window dates.
  • From Monday 7 October until Friday 11 October if you wish to make any bookings for the below dates you will need to contact Customer Support with full details of your learners. Please note you will be unable to make any bookings for the October window in the online portal.

  • We can only accept bookings for the window with a minimum of 5 working days’ notice, please refer to the below table for cut off dates.

Assessment on

Last date for bookings

Monday 14 October

Monday 7 October

Tuesday 15 October

Tuesday 8 October

Wednesday 16 October

Wednesday 9 October

Thursday 17 October

Thursday 10 October

Friday 18 October

Friday 11 October


Results for the above October window will be issued 22/11/2019

Please refer to the Assessment Windows Timetable for further paper based assessment windows.

Single sittings for paper based windows

When booking any paper based external assessments for our reformed Functional Skills qualifications, each centre must determine a single set date and time within an assessment window for each component and subject level. All learners entered in the assessment window at a centre must complete at the same date and time.

This regulation applies to all centres regardless of whether they use a number of different assessment locations or satellite centres when administering paper based assessments.

For example, in the first assessment window running from 14-18 October 2019, a centre may choose to schedule all level 1 maths assessments to take place at 10am on 15 October 2019. They may then schedule all level 2 maths assessments to take place at 1pm on 16 October 2019. In these cases, the centre will be unable to schedule other level 1 and level 2 Maths paper based assessments at different dates/times in the same chosen assessment window.


Fast track fees

Due to the short window available to book assessments, all bookings will incur a fast track fee automatically from our system for this assessment window. We are waiving the charges on this occasion and for bookings made in September, the credit will appear on your September statement. Bookings made in October will be credited on your October statement.

Online external assessment

Important dates:

  • Assessment booking opened on Monday 30 September.
  • Online assessments are available to sit from Monday 7 October.

Online Results

During the initial stage of our Functional Skills Reform assessments we’ll be staggering the release of the online assessment results to allow for a period of awarding and to ensure the appropriate quality controls are applied.

Once this process is complete we’ll then be able to offer our online results at a guaranteed 6 working day turnaround. Please refer to the below table for an understanding of when you can expect your learners’ results:

Functional Skills Online Assessment

Date completed assessment is uploaded

Results Release

07/10/2019 - 01/11/019


02/11/2019 - 29/11/2019


30/11/2019 - 03/01/2020


04/01/2020 – 06/02/2020


* From 07/02/2020

6 day turnaround


*subject to awarding.


Invigilation Requirements

All Functional Skills external assessments, whether online or paper based, must be completed under invigilated conditions, in accordance with the NCFE Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment.

From July 2019, following an Ofqual review, all Awarding Organisations have adopted the rule that no tutor of a Functional Skills qualification can be involved in the administration of the assessment materials for level 1 and 2 exams in that subject, regardless of the level they teach (administration includes initial receipt, secure storage, movement, or preparation of confidential material for external assessments before, during, or after an external assessment).

In addition, a Functional Skills subject tutor must not be involved in the invigilation of that subject, even if they have not taught those learners. For example, a Functional Skills English tutor must not invigilate any Functional Skills English exam and a Functional Skills Maths tutor must not invigilate any Functional Skills Maths exam, regardless of the level they teach. Please note these changes apply to both legacy and reformed Functional Skills qualifications.

Ofqual published an update to the invigilation restrictions and exceptions in September 2019 detailing additional circumstances that are allowable on advance approval from the Awarding Organisation including:

  • restrictions within the centre on the grounds of security or safeguarding
  • instances where an assessment is conducted at a learner’s workplace and an assessment centre is not available locally
  • remote location of the learner’s workplace/assessment location
  • arrangements put into place to support a specific learner with special educational needs by way of an access arrangement or reasonable adjustment.

These changes have been reflected in the NCFE Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment. 

If you believe there to be exceptional circumstances regarding the invigilation of Functional Skills assessments, please refer to our invigilation exception request page on QualHub.


Sample online external assessments

The level 1 and 2 Maths and English sample online assessments and a demonstration test that will allow learners to work with the functionality are now available to use. The demonstration test will also be published as a standalone package to support centres who may not already be approved for online assessment.

To access the sample papers you will need to book these through your Secure Assess administration screens.