A local approach model has been developed for structural assessment of functionally graded materials in which the yield strength and the fracture toughness vary spatially. While the yield strength of the material at any point is taken to be deterministic, the local cleavage toughness is statistically distributed following a two-parameter Weibull model. The model is intended to determine the crack extension direction and failure probabilities of cleavage failure for a stationary pre-crack in a functionally graded material. The effect of independent variation in yield strength and toughness is discussed as a precursor to validating the model using a temperature gradient problem in which the yield strength and toughness are coupled through the temperature. The model is shown to closely reproduce experimental observations from cleavage fracture tests on mild steel subject to a controlled temperature gradient normal to the crack. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.