July 13, 2024


International Student Club UK

ESFA Update further education: 21 July 2021

2. Reminder: the Further Education Workforce Data Collection is now open

The Further Education Workforce Data Collection opened on Monday 12 July and will close on 24 September. We have published the technical specification and guidance on completing the return on GOV.UK.

Minister Keegan has written to FE providers about the importance of the collection.

You should complete a return if you receive funding through one or more of the following funding models, unless you are a school or academy which returns the school workforce census or an HE provider which returns the HESA staff record:

  • 16-19 (excluding apprenticeships)
  • Adult skills
  • Apprenticeships (from 1 May 2017) including levy funding
  • Community Learning
  • European Social Funding (ESF)
  • Other Adult
  • Other 16-19

3. Reminder: FE teacher training grants and bursaries for 2021 to 2022 academic year

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering financial support for FE teacher training for the 2021 to 2022 academic year, in priority subjects, for skilled non-graduates as well as graduates.

FE providers can apply for grants to support those training in-service to provide them with a specified teaching qualification (Level 5 or above), remission from teaching time, and additional support (such as mentoring).

Subject In-service grant value
Mathematics £18,200
SEND £18,200
English £18,200

In addition, tax-free bursaries are available to trainees who are training pre-service to teach high-priority shortage subjects in the FE sector.

Subject Bursary value
Mathematics £26,000
Science (including chemistry, physics and biology) £26,000
Engineering (and/or manufacturing) £26,000
Computing £26,000
SEND £15,000
English £12,000

More information is available in our guidance on FE funding: initial teacher education (ITE) 2021 to 2022.

Both the grants and bursaries are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and will continue to be awarded until the available funding has been exhausted.

4. Reminder: the deadline for the FE Professional Development Grants pilot is Monday 26 July

The deadline for submitting applications to the Further Education Professional Development Grants Pilot has been extended until 10am on Monday 26 July 2021. The pilot is funding collaborative sector-led initiatives to drive professional development approaches in key areas of need.

Further detail about the pilot and how to apply can be found on GOV.UK.

Completed applications and any queries should be sent to [email protected].

5. Reminder: using the Learner Entry Tool

We have noticed that some organisations using the Learner Entry Tool (LET) to submit their ILR data are using an old version. Before using LET you should always ensure you are using the latest version.

For the current academic year, you should be using version 2021.6.

Using an older version can cause validation errors as you will not be using the latest reference data and any improvements made to LET and ILR data throughout the academic year.

The final collection period for the 2020 to 2021 academic year is on 22 October 2021 (R14). It is important that your data is submitted error free, accurate and complete because errors or incomplete returns can impact on the payments your organisation receives. The data cannot be updated or amended after R14 has closed.

You can find further guidance on using the LET, along with the known issues document. If you require any specific advice or support using the LET you can contact us using our enquiry form.

6. Reminder: one week left to enter the National Apprenticeship Awards

Calling all outstanding apprentices, employers and apprenticeship champion! You only have 1 week left to enter the National Apprenticeship Awards. The deadline for entries is Wednesday 28 July at 5pm.

Visit appawards.co.uk and apply today – don’t miss your opportunity to shine.

Still not sure if the awards are for you? Don’t just take our word for it, Claire Oliver, Troup Bywaters + Anders, National SME Employer of the Year Winner, said:

Winning ‘SME Employer of the Year’ at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 provides us with that external gold star of excellence, setting us apart as a business as well as further promoting our employer brand to the new intake of apprentices.

Remember, apprentice employers, apprentices and apprenticeship champions from all industries are invited to enter the awards. Whatever the size of your company or apprenticeship level there is an opportunity to be rewarded.

Visit appawards.co.uk to find out more and apply today!

7. Information: skills training boosted across the country

On Thursday 15 July 2021, the Department for Education made a series of announcements on boosting the nation’s skills, which included:

  • a consultation on the future of the National Skills Fund. The National Skills has already supported thousands of adults to upskill and retrain through Skills Bootcamps, and provides access to almost 400 free courses through Free Courses for Jobs. The consultation is live until 17th September 2021, we encourage you to engage with the consultation by responding online or attending one of four online feedback events scheduled during early August.
  • the expansion of Skills Bootcamps to new regions across the country with over 120 new courses supporting even more adults to get the skills employers need and to get ahead in work. Skills Bootcamps offer a range of fast-track courses in digital skills, technical skills like construction or engineering, and green skills like electrical vehicle maintenance. Find out more about the Skills Bootcamps National Skills Fund on GOV.UK.
  • a consultation on plans to simplify funding for adult skills training, while giving colleges more freedom to decide how best to support the training needs of the local communities they serve, so they can focus on helping more people into good jobs locally.
  • the Skills Accelerator Trailblazers and Pilots were announced – eighteen areas across the country will be the first to lead work to build stronger partnerships between local employer groups, colleges and other providers through the Skills Accelerator programme, so the training on offer meets the needs of local communities and fills skills gaps in key sectors of the economy including construction, digital, clean energy and manufacturing. This will mean
  • new careers guidance for all schools and colleges to make sure that every young person is aware of all the options available to them, including apprenticeships and technical education opportunities instead of concentrating on the traditional university route.

8. Information: College Accounts Direction supplementary bulletin for 2020 to 2021

We have published a supplementary bulletin to the College Accounts Direction and Post-16 Audit Code of Practice with guidance on how college corporations should reflect the continuing impact of the pandemic in their 2020 to 2021 financial statements.

The guide covers:

  • regularity and audit implications
  • reporting on financial sustainability
  • annual report disclosures
  • requirements for disclosure of financial support received
  • other accounting matters
  • a summary of the main sources of DfE / ESFA COVID-19 funding

The bulletin has the same status as the College Accounts Direction and the Post-16 Audit Code of Practice, so compliance with all 3 documents is a condition of college funding agreements.

9. Information: external assurance on subcontracting controls 2020 to 2021 returns by Document Exchange

On 24 March we let you know that we have extended the deadline for returning your external assurance certificate and report to us to 30 September 2021.

We have now also made it easier to return your report and certificate to us by ESFA Document Exchange.  Further information on the process of uploading your report and certificate by ESFA Document exchange, is available on the providing external assurance on subcontracting controls page on GOV.UK.

A copy of the report must also be sent to ESFA along with the certificate. We will review it as part of our compliance arrangements.

10. Information: funding eligibility for the repeat year offer for 2021 and 2022

On 2 June 2021, as part of the Education Recovery announcement, the Department for Education announced that schools or colleges will be able to offer students in year 13 (or equivalent) the option to repeat the year or part of the year if they have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic.

Schools and colleges will be funded by the department to help accommodate the additional student numbers.

This will take effect from September 2021 and is only available for the 2021 to 2022 academic year. It is open to 17, 18 and 19 year old students in all settings whose planned final year of study concludes at the end of the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

This intervention is only for those who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic; the vast majority of eligible students should be encouraged to progress to a suitable destination in education, training or the workplace. It is expected that this option is unlikely to be needed for more than 5% of eligible students.

Guidance has been produced to outline scope, eligibility, and actions required if offering this intervention to more than 5% of eligible students. Further details on how this will be funded will be included in forthcoming updates to the funding regulations.

11. Information: update to the 16 to 19 tuition fund guidance

We have updated the 16 to 19 tuition fund guidance to reflect tuition funding in academic year 2021 to 2022.

The update includes:

  • the policy for the funding in 2021 to 2022
  • content detail for the opt in process for 2021 to 2022 funding
  • content detail on the carry over process for 2020 to 2021 funding
  • how the allocations will be calculated for 2021 to 2022
  • definition of small group tuition

If you have any questions after reading the guidance, please contact us using our online enquiry form.

12. Information: Exceptional learning support (ELS) for 2021 to 2022

We have published the guidance and cost form for exceptional learning support for the 2021 to 2022 funding year.

Providers and employers must complete the estimated cost of exceptional learning support at the beginning of a learner’s programme and submit the completed cost form via Document Exchange on DfE Sign-in, ensuring that you select ‘Funding Claim’ as the document’s purpose.

We are responsible for paying exceptional learning support for:

  • learners aged 19 and over with an identified learning difficulty and/or disability (LDD) without an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • all age apprentices that have an identified LDD and are with or without an EHC plan
  • advanced loans-funded learners with an identified LDD without an EHC plan as part of the Advanced Learner Loans bursary fund

Further information on ELS can be found in the adult education budget (AEB) funding rules 2021 to 2022 and advanced learner loans funding rules 2021 to 2022.

If you have any questions after reading our guidance please contact us via the ESFA enquiry form ensuring that you add ‘2021-2022 exceptional learning support’ in the subject title. You will need to select Contract (19+) as the ‘Query Type’ to enable your query to be transferred to the correct team.

Please contact your mayoral combined authority (MCA’s) or the Greater London Authority (GLA) for support funding for learners funded through devolved AEB arrangements.

13. Information: ESFA adult education (AEB) funding and performance management rules 2021 to 2022

We have published version 2 of the AEB funding rules and the main changes are:

  • National Skills Fund – level 3 adult offer addresses eligibility for short course qualifications
  • Digital skills entitlement – non-regulated provision must be aligned with national standards for essential digital skills
  • New section 4: performance management

Section 4 includes rules for all AEB allocation lines, including 19 to 24 traineeships and National Skills Fund. We have changed the format of this section. It is now split by the funding agreement you have with the ESFA with subheadings for payments, reconciliation, increases and reductions. Also included are the arrangements for accessing additional National Skills Fund during the year.

We have included a full breakdown of the changes on the What’s New page of the rules. If you have any questions, please contact us sing our enquiry form.

14. Information: ESFA funded adult education budget (AEB) performance management review 2021 to 2022

We are conducting a performance review for ESFA funded AEB. Providers will have the opportunity to request a first time request for 19 to 24 traineeships or ESFA funded National Skills Fund allocation up to the value of £45,000 – or a top up increase to an existing 16 to 18 traineeships, 19 to 24 traineeships, or ESFA funded National Skills Fund allocation if it is below £45,000.

Full details are within the request form. The submission deadline is 5pm on 3 August.

The form can be found on our AEB performance management requests page.

If you have any queries about this process, please contact your territorial team lead.

15. Information: qualification achievement rates for 2021 to 2022

An announcement earlier this week outlined the approach for 2021 to 2022 for qualification achievement rates (QARs) will continue to align with that for school and college performance tables.

For the next academic year, education and training, apprenticeships and traineeships QARs are to be published at provider level.

This is a change from 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021, when we confirmed that we would not publish any provider-level QARs in response to COVID-19.

Full details of the announcement in relation to 2021 to 2022 can be found on GOV.UK.

16. Information: 14 to 16 EFA and 16 to 19 EFA validity

For the 2021 to 2022 funding year, a new validity category will be added to Find a Learning Aim (FALA) called 14 to 16 EFA.

From 1 August 2021:

  • 14 to 16 EFA validity will show qualifications approved for the 14 to 16 offer
  • 16 to 19 EFA validity will only show qualifications approved for the 16 to 19 offer

We are introducing this new validity category as there are now differences in which qualifications are approved 14 to 16 and 16 to 19 due to changes arising from the post 16 qualifications review.

For further information about the ILR and ILR Validation rules, visit the ILR technical documents, guidance and requirements website.

17. Information: apprenticeship service file upload specification release

The Apprenticeship Service (AS) will be making several changes to the process by which an apprentice is added to the service. These include the update to choosing a specific version of a standard and the introduction of an apprentice’s own individual account on AS. Also, AS will be introducing new functionality to accommodate a broader set of users for the file upload functionality for providers.

These changes need an update to the file upload (bulk upload) format. We issued a technical specification spec in June to cover all changes for 2021 to avoid LMS software providers having to change systems many times. The file change will happen in late August, with the changes in file upload functionality coming later.

The revised file specifications are:

  • Apprenticeship service – Apprentice bulk upload specification for training providers version 4: effective 26 August 2021
  • Apprenticeship service – Apprentice bulk upload sample file version 3: effective 26 August 2021

18. Information: EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

The deadline for EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications passed on 30 June 2021. Where there are reasonable grounds, there is still an opportunity for late EUSS applications to be made, including applications for children.

As we move into the summer break, the Home Office values your continued support in reminding parents and families to check to see whether they are eligible and to make an application on behalf of their child(ren) who will not be covered by their parent’s application or status.

Further information on late applications is available in a new information guide on GOV.UK, whilst updated social media assets – including one about applications for children – can be downloaded from Brandworkz for use on your own communications channels.

For parents requiring additional assistance to make an application, a list of organisations providing additional EUSS guidance and information is also available. 

Applications to the EUSS are free and can be made online on GOV.UK. Successful applicants get either settled status or pre-settled status.

For questions about applications, call 0300 123 7379 or +44 (0) 20 3080 0010 from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm). Find out about call charges.