Introducing Highfield Core – our new functional skills platform

We are excited to announce the launch of our new Functional Skills assessment platform, Highfield Core.

Designed as a user-friendly, web-based platform, Highfield Core will allow your learners to navigate their own online assessments with ease.

Mock Assessments
You and your learners will soon be able to access the platform and carry out mock assessments to ensure you are suitably prepared for a smooth transition. You will also have access to a tutorial for both English and Maths exams, which will demonstrate how to use the different features learners may need to use during their exams.

Final Assessment and Booking Dates
The final assessment date for assessments on the current Surpass platform, including SecureClient, is 28 May 2021, after which, all assessments must be taken on Highfield Core.

The final date for booking Surpass assessments is 21 May 2021.

Remote invigilation
The booking form for Remote Invigilated Functional Skills exams must be received by 21 May 2021 to ensure they are booked for the Surpass platform. When sending your booking requests through, please note which platform you would like the assessment to be booked for. We have created a new booking form for you to use, which can be found on our Qualify at Home page as Exam Booking Form.

Any requests received by ribookings@highfield.co.uk for exam bookings dated 29 May 2021 onwards will not be booked until w/c 17 May 2021. Unless we confirm otherwise, all learners will be booked on to their first preferred date, so you can confirm the date to the learner and let them know to expect their confirmation emails next month.

Resits
Any resit taking place on Highfield Core (where the original exam was taken on Surpass) must be booked by Highfield. To book these, please contact your account manager.

Webinars – Coming Soon
We will be running two free webinars to demonstrate the new platform. Dates and times are:

Thursday 6 May 10:00 – 11:00

Thursday 13 May 10:00 – 11:00

We will be in touch with you to keep you updated on the transition, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your account manager.

Ask Highfield: Functional Skills Speaking & Listening webinar

Functional Skills webinarListening and responding to our customer’s needs is always top of Highfield’s agenda, and we want to offer whatever assistance we can during these challenging times. 

One area we feel we can provide real help and guidance in is functional skills speaking and listening exams, which is why we are trialling a new format of support webinar: Ask Highfield

Perhaps you would like some examples of best-practice learner support strategies for speaking and listening exams?

Or do you have questions about how best to standardise the pre-assessment briefs and assessment introductions?

Email in your questions to events@highfield.co.uk by Monday 26 April 2021 and our Principal Examiner will answer your FAQs during a live webinar broadcast on Thursday 6 May 2021.

For more information on all our events and webinars, please visit our Events page. 

Functional Skills Support Webinars

Here at Highfield, we understand the importance of keeping our customers informed and offering whatever support we can during these challenging times.

One area we feel we can provide real help and guidance for is functional skills, which is why we’ll be holding two FREE Functional Skills Support webinars in the new year.

These webinars will discuss key trends and support strategies for both the Level 1 and Level 2 English Functional Skills and the Level 1 and Level 2 Mathematics Functional Skills.

English Functional Skills Support Webinar
Thursday 14 January 2021
14:00 – 15:00
This live Q&A session will facilitate enquiries for both reading and writing, while also allowing sharing of best practice and hints and tips for areas of concern. Topics include:

  • question types and staggered answers
  • expected comparative answers (including conveyance at Level 2)
  • purpose and related vocabulary
  • the differences between features
  • meeting the needs of purpose and audience

BOOK NOW

Maths Functional Skills Support Webinar
Tuesday 19 January 2021
14:00 – 15:00
This live Q&A session will facilitate enquiries for both calculator and non-calculator, while also allowing sharing of best practice and hints and tips for areas of concern. Topics include:

  • question types and allocation of marks
  • demonstration of mathematical methods
  • the differences between levels
  • onscreen vs paper-based

BOOK NOW

You’ll find more support webinars and CPD opportunities on our booking page here.

Why not check out our YouTube channel The Highfield Group to see recordings of our previous webinars and announcements?

Subscribe to the channel and switch on alerts to receive a notification when new videos are uploaded!

Functional Skills temporary flexibility extended

The Department of Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency have released guidance about changes to apprenticeships due to COVID-19.

It has been confirmed that the temporary flexibility suspending the funding rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills assessments has been extended until 31 December 2020.

Full guidance is available on the Government’s website under Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) and external quality assurance providers about changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here.

Update on reformed functional skills in English

Are you looking for an authoritative update on reformed functional skills in English?

Well, we’ve recently held two webinars to provide some support to anyone offering functional skills English levels 1 and 2. And now we’ve published them below for everyone to view. 

Support for functional skills English Level 1 

This short webinar is designed to provide additional support for tutors of Level 1 reading and writing, following the changes to the reformed functional skills qualifications.
 
Topics covered include:
 
  • question types and staggered answers
  • comparisons as a teaching tool
  • purpose and related vocabulary
  • the difference between features
  • meeting the needs of purpose and audience

Support for functional skills English Level 2 

This short webinar is designed to provide additional support for tutors of Level 2 reading and writing, following the changes to the reformed functional skills qualifications.

Topics covered in this webinar include:

  • question types and staggered answers
  • comparisons as a teaching tool
  • conveyance of Information, Ideas and Opinions (IIO) as a teaching tool 
  • the differences between features and devices
  • effective use of organisational markers

If there’s anything you have questions on, just leave us a comment below.

And if you like these webinars, don’t forget to check out what’s coming up over the next few months at https://centres.highfieldqualifications.com/Events/Default.aspx 

Free Functional Skills English webinars for February

Highfield is hosting two free webinars this February covering Functional Skills English at Level 1 and Level 2.

The two webinars take place on 6 February 2020, with both the Level 1 and Level 2 webinars covering:

  • question types and staggered answers
  • comparisons as a teaching tool
  • conveyance of information, ideas and opinions (IIO) as a teaching tool
  • the differences between features and devices
  • effective use of organisational markers

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each webinar.

Each webinar will last approximately one hour. For more information, go to: https://centres.highfieldqualifications.com/Events/Default.aspx

Are you up to date with the recent changes to functional skills?

Well not to fear, as we’ve held several webinars on the reformed functional skills that were launched on 1 September 2019.

The new qualifications are: 

You can find out more about the new qualifications by following the links above, however, if you’re looking for more in-depth information, we have made three recent webinars available, covering English and Maths amplification and explanations of the support we offer. 

Functional Skills Support – The Highfield Approach

Functional Skills Support – English Amplifications (Reading and Writing Levels 1 and 2) 

Functional Skills Support – Maths Amplifications (Maths Levels 1 and 2) 

We’re confident that these webinars will help you with what you need to know about the changes to functional skills. But if you’ve still got questions, get in touch. We’re always happy to help.

Functional Skills with Highfield

More and more providers are coming to Highfield for their functional skills provision.

Why?

Because the support we offer is second to none. And with fast turnarounds, exceptional customer support and industry-leading resources and guidance, we’ve already helped thousands of apprentices and businesses achieve their ambitions.

We offer:

  • on-demand assessment options (paper-based and on-screen)
  • sector-leading results turnaround, with results available within 10 days (12 for paper-based)
  • comprehensive feedback reports with the key details you need to monitor
  • thorough guidance to support contextualisation of assessments and the option to choose your own contexts for assessments in the speaking, listening and communications components
  • certificates printed the same day results are released
  • initial and diagnostic assessments available

All of the above, plus support from our exceptional customer support team (calls answered within three rings, emails responded to within one working day), along with consistent and transparent prices, so there are never any hidden fees or shocks.

Just go to https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/apprenticeships/functional-skills to find out how we can help you and your learners.

Functional skills changes – free webinars

Are you up-to-date with the recent changes to functional skills?

Well not to fear, as we’ve held several webinars on the reformed functional skills that were launched on 1 September 2019.

The new qualifications are: 

You can find out more about the new qualifications by following the links. However, if you’re looking for more in-depth information, we have made available three webinars we recently held covering English and Maths amplification and an explanation of the support we offer. 

Functional Skills Support – The Highfield Approach

Functional Skills Support – English Amplifications (Reading and Writing Levels 1 and 2)

Functional Skills Support – Maths Amplifications (Maths Levels 1 and 2)

We’re confident the webinars will help you with what you need to know about the changes to functional skills. But if you’ve still got questions, get in touch. We’re always happy to help!

You can call us on 01302 363277/0845 2260350 or email info@highfield.co.uk 

Have you updated your functional skills invigilation procedures?

We really want to ensure that you are up to date, particularly with the key regulatory requirement for centres to ensure that the new reformed functional skills exams are independently invigilated.

If an exam has not been independently invigilated, Highfield will not be able to accept the assessments and learners will have to retake the exam.

We are always here to support and explain if you need any further information or clarification.

As you’ll be aware, from 1 September 2019, we began offering the new reformed functional skills qualifications, giving you the opportunity to provide your customers with the very latest and most up-to-date qualifications available.

Please could we politely ask you to once again familiarise yourself with the updated guidance and policies in line with your centre agreement with us.  There have been significant changes to the invigilation requirements for the reformed qualifications, which Highfield approved centres must comply with. 

To remind you, we have highlighted the key points below:

8. Invigilators

8.1 The invigilator must not be related to learners. It is the centre’s responsibility to ensure that the invigilator is suitable to invigilate examinations.

8.2 A functional skills subject tutor must not be involved in the invigilation of that subject, even if they have not taught those candidates (i.e. 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).

8.3 In conjunction with 2.8.1, the invigilator must sign the Functional Skills Invigilator Declaration prior to invigilating an onscreen functional skills examination.

All of the above can be found in the Highfield Qualifications’ Examination & Invigilation Regulations (Functional Skills) document, which you can download from the members’ section of www.highfieldqualifications.com at any time.

Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about the new processes, please contact your account manager who will be more than happy to help.