Functional Skills in History and Geography

Functional skills underpin and complement many of the key processes in history and geography. They are the core elements of English, mathematics and ICT that enable pupils independently to:
• apply and adapt their knowledge and understanding to a range of contexts
• solve problems in familiar and unfamiliar situations
• gather, interpret and communicate information effectively and confidently.

This process is not linear but cyclical and should respond to the needs of the learners and inform their future learning.

Effective teaching will enhance the development of skills. Pupils need planned opportunities to ’have a go’ – to select from and experiment with the skills they have learnt elsewhere in the curriculum, applying them with an increasing degree of independence to new and varied contexts. These should have both relevance to the learner and a real purpose in relation to the subject.

Through peer- and self-assessment and teacher feedback, pupils then need to reflect on the progress they are making and to identify particular aspects of their skills development that need further reinforcement.
 
What functional skills can be developed and applied to history?

Historical contexts and problems provide a rich opportunity for pupils to draw from and apply a range of functional skills. The increased emphasis on historical enquiry means that history teachers will naturally be providing more open-ended, problem-solving tasks that require pupils to take greater ownership of their learning and to:

• devise and refine their own hypotheses

• plan and carry out investigations

• select and deploy evidence to reach and justify their conclusions.

Pupils develop competence and confidence in using functional skills in an interrelated way. Their functionality develops over time as they learn to select and apply the skills needed to tackle particular tasks. Subject teachers can support this process by ensuring that pupils have access to the full range of skills. The following tables contain a few examples of ways in which functional skills can be deployed in history
 
Download the full booklet for history here
 
What functional skills can be developed and applied to geography?

Geography-related contexts provide a rich opportunity for pupils to draw from and apply a range of functional skills. The increased emphasis on the development of geographical enquiry means that geography teachers will naturally be providing more open-ended, problem-solving tasks that require pupils to take greater ownership of their learning and to:

• devise and refine their own hypotheses

• plan and carry out appropriate investigations, including fieldwork and the use of Geographic Information System

• select and deploy evidence to reach and justify their conclusions, and present them to a range of audiences.

Pupils develop competence and confidence in using functional skills in an interrelated way. Their functionality develops over time as they learn to select and apply the skills needed to tackle particular tasks. Subject teachers can support this process by ensuring that pupils have access to the full range of skills. The following tables contain a few examples of ways in which functional skills can be deployed in geography.
 
Download the full booklet for geography here