Functional Skills English

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For 16–18 year olds who want to learn English as a second language. You will also learn maths and IT skills.

This course is for young learners who want to improve their English, maths or IT skills so that they can live and work in the UK.

We work with local businesses to plan our courses, so you can prepare for work in the UK. We can also provide work experience and some vocational options in subjects such as the Performing Arts, Motor vehicle or Hospitality.

When you finish the course, you could:

  • study at the next level of ESOL
  • OR, study another subject at college 

This course starts in September and takes one year. 
You can join the course after September but please contact our Advice and Admissions centre first. They will check if there is a place for you. The maximum class size is 25 students.

If you want to study another subject at college, or get a job, we can give you advice for FREE!

To speak with us, complete the form here. You DO NOT need to complete a college application form.

Please note: This course does not run during school holidays or bank holidays.


What I'll learn

You will learn the English language through studying:

  • citizenship
  • maths
  • IT
  • communication and presentation skills
  • study skills
  • work skills
  • a vocational option, such as Performing Arts, Motor vehicle or Hospitality
  • work experience

Also, all Activate Learning students can speak free of charge to our Student Support teams for advice and guidance on their course and student life in the UK. See here for details.


How I'll learn

Teaching can include:

  • instruction from a teacher
  • group discussion
  • working in pairs
  • one-to-one instruction
  • role plays

Also, you will be helped to develop your English skills according to your own needs. 

You will learn through reading, writing, listening and speaking in authentic situations.

There is a minimum of 18 hours of taught lessons each week. However, you are expected to study about 20 hours a week. This should include homework/self-directed study.

In the college, there are quiet places to study called “the Learning Zone”. 

You can also join fun events, such as class trips!

You also get access to our leisure and learning facilities such as: 

  • Learning Centres and beauty salons
  • libraries
  • Virtual Learning Environments


How I'll be assessed

There are speaking and listening, reading, and writing tests on this course. The cost for these tests is included in the course fee.
These tests help you understand your strong and weak points, so you can study more effectively.

When you successfully complete this course, you will get a UK ESOL and maths qualification.


If English is not your first language and you need to improve your English language skills so that you can study or find work, we can help you."

ESOL teacher

Entry Requirements

English MUST be your second language.
You must be aged between 16–18 years old at the start of this course.
You must be able to study at the college full time.
You do not need qualifications to join. However, you must speak with a member of the teaching team first. 
They need to check your level of English and maths. They will then put you with other learners of a similar level.

When you come to the college, please bring along your passport, EU ID card or Visa (if you entered the UK from outside the EU).  

If you entered the UK to join a spouse or relative, you will also need to bring your spouse’s/relative’s passport.  

Please bring along any proof of any benefits, such as JSA or ESA, if relevant to you. You may not need to pay fees.

There may be additional fees for this course, such as school trips, textbooks or exam costs. Please contact the college for further details.


How to Apply

To register your interest and contact the Foundation Learning team. 

You do not need to complete the full college application form.

Please complete the short form here.