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Functional Skills English (Levels 1 & 2) Functional Skills

Pearson Edexcel


Our innovative Functional Skills English courses will help you to fill gaps in your qualifications, providing vital skills that will help you progress in your career.


Increasingly accepted as an alternative to a GCSE, our new interactive courses will set you on the right track.

Functional Skills qualifications can open doors to a wide range of job areas, help you to progress your career, and boost your confidence in reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. Whether you finished your studies recently or you’ve not studied English since you left school, our interactive Functional Skills courses are designed to give you the skills you need to succeed.

Which route is right for you?

If you would rather study Level 2 only and do not need the Level 1 assignments, please visit the Level 2 course page.

Why study Functional Skills English (Levels 1 & 2)?

By studying Functional Skills English, you will be starting from the beginning and will be able to see your skills increase over time; the course will cover spelling, grammar, punctuation,  tenses and much more.

Our Functional Skills English (Levels 1 and 2) course is ideal if you:

  • Are wanting to progress in your career but do not have GCSE English – Level 2 can act as an alternative to a GCSE at grade 4 and can be enough to push you forward in the right direction.
  • Are currently in an apprenticeship programme.
  • Are looking to study at your own pace. With frequent assessments, you can book your exam when it suits you. 
  • Are looking to boost your skills in order to feel more confident in comprehending what you’re reading, writing for different audiences, identifying types of language, spelling and grammar.
  • Are aiming to continue to further studies such as GCSE, A level or a vocational course but are looking for an introduction to English through online learning. The skills learned on our Functional Skills courses will be transferable to many other subjects.

Course content

All students will have access to the learning materials for both Level 1 and Level 2. If you are enrolling on Level 2 , your tutor marked assignments will be for that level but you will also have access to all the level 1 materials – this will be helpful for refreshing your skills or for revision.

If you are enrolling on both levels then your tutor marked assignments will start and level 1.

Section 1 Speaking, listening and communicating
Topic 1 Effective spoken communications
Topic 2 Listening and questioning skills
Topic 3 Giving a talk
Topic 4 Participating in discussions
Level 1 Speaking, listening and communicating assignment
Level 2 Speaking, listening and communicating assignment

Section 2 Reading
Topic 1 Active reading
Topic 2 Using a dictionary
Grammar 1 – Grammatical terms
Topic 3 What is this text for?
Punctuation 1 – Punctuating sentences; commas
Topic 4 Why does this text look like it does?
Punctuation 2 – Apostrophes; semi-colons, dashes and colons; punctuating dialogue
Topic 5 Comparing texts and answering test questions

Level 1 Reading assignment

Topic 6 Close reading for understanding
Topic 7 Reading for meaning
Topic 8 Understanding organisational and language features
Topic 9 Sources of reference

Level 2 Reading assignment
Spelling – Prefixes and suffixes, Silent letters,Words with ‘e’ sounds, Tricky letters,
Words with ‘s’ sounds, Words that sound the same

Section 3 Writing
Topic 1 Planning your writing
Topic 2 Organising your writing
Grammar 2 – Building a sentence; using verbs correctly
Topic 3 Writing for a purpose
Grammar 3 – Writing precisely; choosing the right word from a pair
Topic 4 Writing emails
Topic 5 Writing letters
Topic 6 Writing articles and reports

Level 1 Writing assignment

Topic 7 Making your writing flow
Topic 8 Writing for your audience
Topic 9 Persuading and arguing

Level 2 Writing assignment
Practice paper assignment
Level 1 Practice paper assignment
Level 2 Practice paper assignment

Your tutor is a subject expert who will mark your assignments, giving feedback on the work submitted and advising on areas for improvement. This feedback is vital to improving your grades and will be the best preparation for the final assessments.

What you need to know

Exam board

Pearson Edexcel

Qualification number 603/4289/4 (Level 1)
Qualification number 603/4290/0 (Level 2)


Interactive online learning with tutor marked assignments to prepare you for the assessments


Complete at your own pace – enrol anytime and take the assessment as soon as you’re ready.

Approx. 55* hours plus time for completing assignments per level

*This is an estimate. Everyone is different and learns at a different pace. Your study time will not only include reading the online course materials and doing the online activities, but also completing assignments and preparing yourself for the assessment.


Introductory assignment – a chance for your tutor to get to know you

3 assignments per level – these do not contribute towards your final grade

Tutor marked past paper so you can practise before the exam


There are no essential set texts, as all of the information you need to succeed in the course is included in the course materials.


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

You will need to purchase a dictionary for use on your course.

Important information

This course page is for Functional Skills English Levels 1 and 2, providing you with tutor-marked assignments for both levels.

If you would like to enrol on only level 2, click here.

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for assessment
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 12 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams
  • Tutor marked past paper so you can practise before the exam

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Arrange a call back with a member of our Course Advice Team

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!

Exams and assessment

Assessment is by externally set paper-based or onscreen on-demand assessment. Assessments take place throughout the year.

Students are not entered for any exams when they enrol with NEC but we will put you in touch with our trusted partners Tutors and Exams or Academic Enrichment Centre who will enter you and provide you with the opportunity to take the exams.

If our trusted partners do not have any convenient centres for you, you can also contact local colleges or learning establishments who may be able offer the opportunity to take exams with them.

Exams are organised independently of NEC, by contacting Tutors & Exams or Academic Enrichment Centre directly. They will be able to provide further guidance on exam booking. For further information, please visit https://www.tutorsandexams.uk or https://www.aecentre.co.uk.

Results are issued up to 20 days after completing the external assessment.

NEC offers an exam pass guarantee. In order for this to be applicable to your Functional Skills course, you must have passed the past paper that is provided as part of your course before sitting the external assessment.