Skip to main content


Question for Department for Education

UIN 134426, tabled on 8 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprentices are unable to complete their training as a result of backlogs in functional skills tests.

Answered on

13 January 2021

We do not currently hold the data in the format requested.

Apprenticeship data for the first quarter of the 2020/21 academic year will be published on 28 January 2021.

The department is committed to supporting apprentices to complete their functional skills qualifications and their apprenticeship. Where functional skills assessments have been disrupted, we have been clear that training providers, employers, and awarding organisations must work together in the best interests of apprentices.

To ease immediate pressures, we have extended legacy functional skills qualifications to 31 July 2021. We have also extended, until March 2021, the flexibility which removes the requirement for level 2 apprentices to attempt level 2 functional skills.

In addition to wider programme flexibilities, we have expanded the examination support service to include apprenticeship training providers. These providers can now use this service to book COVID-19-secure exam space and invigilators and claim additional funding where this exceeds their normal delivery costs.

We continue to work closely with Ofqual, awarding organisations, and sector representatives to monitor the situation and agree how we can, together, identify and support apprentices that are unable to take their functional skills exams.

The departmental guidance about providing apprenticeships during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.