Exam boards for Functional skills L2

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Valentina ALVINO

Jan 17, 2023, 9:58:20 AM1/17/23
to EAL-Bilingual
Hi all,

Do you have any experience with what exam board we should enter our two EAL refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq? They are currently working at a B level. Do you think we have enough time to prepare them for the exams etc? Any information would be much appreciated. 

Many thanks.

Best wishes,


EAL Coordinator
Chelsea Academy 

Ellis, Louise

Jan 17, 2023, 11:46:33 AM1/17/23
to Valentina ALVINO, EAL-Bilingual

Hi Valentina,


I am not sure if you only want advise for Level 2, in which case ignore this message!


I support students across our schools to do their English Functional Skills if they may struggle to access the GCSE English. They usually do the Functional Skills in addition to their GCSE so it is more of a ‘back up’.


I use Edexcel.


I would look at the practice papers and let them have a go. The order from easiest to most challenging is:


Entry Level 1

Entry Level 2

Entry Level 3


Level 1

Level 2


I have only taught Entry Level as if they can do Level 1 and Level 2, they can likely secure a pass at GCSE.


I find my students can access higher Reading Papers, but struggle with the Writing Papers, so if time is short, focus on writing. They have to have a pass in all three papers, Reading, Writing and Speaking/Listening. At Entry Level, the papers come in sets, so if they fail a component, they can re-sit another paper, 2 weeks later. They are all available online, although you obviously have to follow the procedures and only download them before the exam and have them locked away etc.  You mark the papers internally and they are moderated externally.


As the papers get more challenging, the speaking part becomes more complicated with group tasks, so you may need to get other students involved if you wish to do higher levels. There isn’t a speaking and listening paper either – but advise on what tasks you can do which will hit the success criteria. You therefore have to create tasks but you can use prompts such as a map for directions, menu, recipe etc. The speaking exam should be recorded.


If your students are literate, you have enough time for the lower levels. For example, questions on Entry Level consist of


  • Putting letters in alphabetical order
  • Changing letters from lower case to upper case and vice versa
  • Choosing a correctly spelt missing word in a sentence from a choice of 3


The more difficult tasks involve writing sentences ensuring they are using capitals and full stops. They are marked for spelling. Higher papers will ask for simple connectives and adjectives. It is heavily guided and they also get marks if they include all the bullet points:


e.g. You are going for lunch with a friend


  • Say what day to meet
  • Say what time
  • Say what food you will eat
  • Say what drink
  • Say two things you will do after lunch


They would get a point for each bullet point they include. It is very easy to get marks.


Feel free to message me if you want to see speaking tasks I have done in the past/ any other questions.


Kind regards,





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Ellis, Louise

Jan 17, 2023, 11:50:46 AM1/17/23
to Ellis, Louise, Valentina ALVINO, EAL-Bilingual



Currently doing a billion things at once!

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