Planning and Enabling Learning

Should formal functional skills lessons be compulsory in vocational training or is an embedded approach the answer.

Initial Research

With my hypothesis always on my mind I started my research along the lines of; was there a need for functional skills within vocational training at all and if so how much and how to deliver it?
This led me to a report on the NRDC web site that raised some very interesting findings ( One being that in all but a few instances where ‘super teachers’ were involved, statistics showed that where all four subjects are delivered by one person achievement levels dropped regarding grading   and success rates (Jupp, T. 2006: 22). After this another report from the NRDC called “You wouldn’t expect a maths teacher to teach plastering” ( It highlights the fact that not all vocational trainers feel comfortable with delivering key skills (Jupp, T. Reflect magazine 2006:10). With my mind leaning toward a blended approach I began researching the pros and cons of all three approaches. Geoff Petty comments on how students find formal functional skills irksome and irrelevant to the main body of work covered in their vocational studies (Petty, J 2009:505). After reading these reports I deduced that maybe one approach over the other was not the answer but a blended approach encompassing the good points and largely eliminating any bad ones.

Primary Research

To test any theories I have written about so far I decided to put together a survey


A lot of students were negative about formal classes and a few felt they didn’t need any key skills training at all. After students gave it a little more thought 27 students stated they wanted to move into management roles, a further 2 wanted to go into higher education leaving only one student completely happy that he/she...