01904 554277 york.learning@york.gov.uk

Free courses for adults

English and Maths

It’s never too late to learn and it’s never too late to get a qualification!  There are many reasons people come back to learning as an adult.  You may need it for your job or for some specific training – or maybe you just want to prove to yourself you can do it!  Whatever your reason, 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 ideas. Some people even say they now love maths!


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.

York Learning run daytime and evening sessions face to face in the city centre and at some community venues and also online (on *Zoom). Our flexible way of working means that you can choose the pace and way of working which suits you best.

The courses we offer include very basic word and number skills, and Functional Skills at all levels. Functional Skills are the practical skills you might use everyday in life and work. Having a Level 2 Functional Skill qualification under your belt can open the door to a whole range of jobs and courses. We also offer English and maths adult GCSE classes, in supportive settings, with fast-track options for those who want quick results.

If you are a non native English speaker and need to work on grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing, our ESOL classes are what you need.

Ring us or book a one to one assessment online so that you can discuss your current level, needs. and any anxieties with a specialist tutor, (Yes, we know that returning to learn as an adult can be very scary!).  then you’ll be linked up with the subject tutor who will work with you to achieve your goals.

*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 get you started.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

If English isn’t your native language and you 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.

  • Pre Entry – signs, numbers, letters and everyday words
  • Entry 1 and 2 – basic reading, writing and communication skills
  • Entry 3 – reading, writing, speaking and listening, and basic grammar
  • Level 1- language skills for employment, education or further training
  • Level 2 – you may be able to access Functional Skills or GCSE courses

Click here for more information and to apply for an assessment.

English and maths Functional Skills and GCSE courses are FREE for learners who:

  • are aged 19+ on 31 August 2021
  • hold a UK or EU passport, resident for minimum of 3 years
  • do not have grade C or 4 or above in English or maths

In some cases you will be eligible if your spouse or another member of your family holds a passport or residency, or if you are a member of the army or are a refugee. Please contact us in these cases.

English for Speakers of Other Languages courses are part funded if you meet these criteria, or free if you are earning less than £17374.50 per year.

In all cases, please provide evidence of nationality and resident status at your assessment.

This depends on three things:

  • Your personal starting point
  • The level of the qualification you are aiming for
  • The amount of time you are able to commit to the course, both within classes and in your own time.

In most cases, it typically takes between 40 and 60 hours to complete a level – or between 20 and 30 weeks of a once a week class.

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.

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.

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!

If you would like more information about any of these courses before applying, please complete the form below and we will get in touch.


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.