01904 554277 york.learning@york.gov.uk

Free courses for adults

English and Maths

If you’re an adult and you want to get English and maths qualifications, then you’re in the right place! As well as nationally recognised qualifications, our learners tell us they gain confidence, skills and new contacts and ideas. Some people even say they now love maths!

York Learning run daytime and evening sessions online using Zoom and, when restrictions allow, we’ll get back to some face to face workshops or sessions at venues across the city too. The courses we offer range from basic literacy and numeracy, through Functional Skills at all levels, right up to GCSE. We also have English for Speakers of Other Languages.  If you’re in a hurry to get your qualification, we have intensive job seeker courses and fast-track online options.

Following a one to one assessment to discuss your current level and needs, you’ll be linked up with a specialist tutor who will work with you to achieve your goal.

If you’re new to Zoom or don’t have equipment to access online courses, speak to us and we’ll see what we can do to support you to get started.


Grade C or 4 and above are required for many jobs and for access to several further/higher education options including nursing or PGCE.

Functional Skills Move On

Level 1 and 2 Functional Skills qualifications for employment, to return to learning or to prepare for further/higher education, apprenticeships and GCSE.

Functional Skills Get On

Entry 2-3 English and maths qualifications to brush up on the basics and gain confidence.

Get Started

Basic reading, writing or maths skills for those who may need additional support.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

If you still need to work on grammar, language development, reading or writing, please apply for an ESOL assessment. We have English for Speakers of Other Languages classes at all levels from Pre-Entry up to Level 1. After this, you will be ready to join our mainstream Functional Skills and GCSE courses. 

Am I eligible? Do I have to pay? 

English and maths Functional Skills and GCSE courses are FREE for learners who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • 19+ on 31 August 2021
  • UK or EU passport holder, resident for minimum of 3 years. (Please enquire re family members, army, refugee or other possible eligible groups.)
  • Do not have grade C or 4 or above in English or maths

For ESOL, you will be part funded if you meet these criteria, or the course will be free if you are earning less than £17374.50 per annum.

In all cases, please provide evidence of eligibility at your assessment.

How long does it take? 

This really depends on where you are now and what level of qualification you are aiming for, as well as the time you are able to put into study and practice.

If you come to us with the skills, just needing a few pointers on SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and exam technique; you might complete the qualification in as little as 20 hours. However, most people use these courses to develop their skills and confidence across the board, and will typically take between 40 and 60 hours to complete a level.  It really does depend on the individual, which is why we have one to one assessments and expert tutors on hand to advise on the best course of action for each person. What we have found is that if you commit to regular attendance, you will achieve more.

It’s important to note that if you’re a job seeker thinking about starting a course, our offer is flexible enough to ensure you can complete the qualification, even if you start work halfway through.

I‘m ready to get going! What do I do next? 

If you have recently completed a course with us, please contact your tutor or one of our enrolment team on 01904 554277 for advice on how to progress.

If this is your first course with us, and you meet the eligibility criteria, please register your interest by creating an account here, then booking an assessment slot.  You will be sent confirmation of your booked time and information about what to do.

If you have any difficulty accessing the booking forms, or you think you may not be eligible for the free courses, but would like to proceed, please email york.learning@york.gov.uk or ring 01904 554277. We will discuss your options and get you started.

These courses are very popular. Don’t delay! Book an assessment today!

or fill in the form below if you would like more information about English or Maths courses before applying, or would like information about English courses for speakers of other languages.


Functional Skills - Entry LevelFunctional Skills - Level 1Functional Skills - Level 2
GCSE - A*-C (grades 4-9)GCSE - D/3 or below
ESOL - Entry LevelESOL - Level 1ESOL - Level 2
I do not have any existing English or Maths qualifications

Courses for the workplace

If you’re an employer or you would like to arrange courses for members of your workforce, at your own workplace or through our venues, please contact fiona.himsworth@york.gov.uk and we’ll see what we can do.