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Key Skills are qualifications that are intended to run through secondary education to degree level. They are numbered 1 to 5 with numbers 1 to 3 being aimed at secondary school students and 4 and 5 at degree and higher level students. The qualifications at levels one to 3 cover: These skills are not subject based but are intended to teach you generic skills for use in the working world. The government claims to have talked to employers about what skills they look for in an applicant. Currently Key Skills are only compulsory as part of the post 16 curriculum. At this stage level 3 is intended to be of a similar standard to A Level. The three skills which you are examined at are: Of these the IT and Maths ones do not need to be taken if the corresponding A Level is being studied. Each Skill requires a piece of coursework such as a project to be submitted and a simple exam to be taken. The exams are graded in the same way as A Level but an A is only worth 20 points as opposed to the 120 that an A in a full A Level is worth.

This combination of their low points value and the unsurprising apathy with which they are received by universities has meant that students have little time for Key Skills. Especially as we are already snowed under with the oppressive new A Level system.

The DfEE are still working hard to gain acceptance of Key Skills from Universities and schools but are currently failing. On some levels they are a good idea but when you are already working hard to obtain qualifications that will actually count why waste times with ones that won’t?

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