1. Latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department for Education has published guidance about COVID-19 in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students on GOV.UK.
Please check GOV.UK regularly for updates.
2. Action: survey to review the funding rates for high cost and high value provision
Today we have launched an online survey across all 16 to 19 and adult funded providers. This is to gather evidence to review the programme cost weighting uplifts, and the value premiums used in FE funding. We want to ensure the funding rates are suitable for supporting high cost and high value provision. You can complete the survey online.
We are encouraging both 16 to 19 and adult funded providers to participate in the survey. This information will inform the Spending Review and implementation of the Skills for Jobs White Paper. We need your input and evidence from completing this survey to help shape this work.
The survey is open from today and will be open for over 4 weeks closing on Friday 25 June.
3. Reminder: year-end forecast funding claim for 2020 to 2021
The year-end forecast funding claim window will open at 9am on Tuesday 8 June 2021.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, and time and resources are under strain. However, we will require you to submit an accurate year-end claim as this will enable us to inform you of your indicative reconciliation figure prior to final claim submission in October 2021.
Please submit your year-end funding claim by 4pm on Friday 11 June 2021. The claim form will be available on Submit Learner Data.
You will need to submit a claim if you receive funds through:
- grant funded – ESFA adult education budget (AEB) (adult skills, community learning, 19 to 24 traineeships and COVID-19 skills offer)
- learner support for ESFA AEB procured (adult skills and 19 to 24 traineeships) – paid-on-profile
- 19 to 24 traineeships 2020 procurement – learner support – paid-on-profile
- grant funded – Advanced Learner Loans Bursary (ALLB)
- 16 to 19 education.
Once you have submitted your claim you will also be able to view it on the Manage your education and skills funding.
You can get further help with ESFA services.
4. Reminder: Non-procured apprenticeship carry-in allocations for 2021 to 2022
We will shortly be calculating allocations for non-procured apprenticeship carry-in using your R10 data return.
The R10 data return deadline is 4 June 2021. It is important that providers with a non-procured apprenticeship carry-in allocation submit accurate data as we will use this data to review allocations to ensure they are set at the right level.
For more information please see the 19+ allocations webpage or contact your territorial team lead if you have any queries.
5. Information: oversight of ITPs operational guidance
We recognise the importance of independent training providers (ITPs) to the skills infrastructure and the key role they play in supporting employers and the economy to recover. We are continuing to improve our oversight of ITPs and as part of this we have updated our current operational guidance. The document explains how the ESFA will take action to mitigate the potential risk of ITP failure and includes key changes that have been introduced since the publication of guidance in April 2019.
We plan to publish the College Oversight guidance in June 2021.
We have published an updated college financial benchmarking tool with data from further education and sixth-form colleges’ 2019 to 2020 finance records, submitted to the ESFA up to 14 May 2021. The tool allows colleges to compare their performance with others in the sector.
We have also published the college accounts dataset for 2019 to 2020 based on the finance records.
7. Information: publication of a new roadmap to support employers on their road to a quality apprenticeship
The road to a quality apprenticeship has been published to help employers understand the steps involved in delivering high quality, successful apprenticeships in their businesses.
A practical guide to aid employers of any size, The road to a quality apprenticeship provides links to information that employers can use to help them achieve a quality experience for their apprentices while maximising the benefits for their business. It will be followed by similar guides for end-point assessment organisations and apprentices.
Together with the provider guide to delivering high quality apprenticeships, they demonstrate the collaborative approach involved in delivering apprenticeships.
The road to a quality apprenticeship is useful for providers as it can help them to understand the role employers play in the apprenticeship journey plus it is a helpful resource to draw employer’s attention to during apprenticeship discussions.
Please share The road to a quality apprenticeship with your colleagues and the employer contacts you work with too.
8. Information: register of apprenticeship training providers refresh application
As part of the government’s continued commitment to improving the quality of apprenticeship training, some changes have been made to the register of apprenticeship training providers (the register).
To drive up the quality of apprenticeship provision, the government strategy is to progressively introduce more stringent entry criteria for the register.
We have made some changes to the register including the identification of non-delivering providers and a review of the conditions of acceptance.
We will operate a phased reapplication approach throughout 2021 into 2022 and all providers will receive notification with an invitation for an allocated month.
These notifications will be sent to the email addresses we hold on bravo, so please ensure your information is up to date.
To support providers with their application we have published a new support video, which demonstrates the step-by-step process of how to complete your refresh application on the service.
Further support is available on GOV.UK.
9. Information: updates on traineeships employer incentives extension to July 2022
We can confirm that the incentive payments for employers who host a work experience placement, as part of a traineeships programme were extended until July 2022 in March 2021.
Due to budget requirements all incentive payments and claims must be claimed and processed in each academic year. Any employer who hosts a placement between 1 September 2020 and 31 July 2021 will be expected to make a claim before the ILR data close in October 2021. We encourage all providers to ensure that the ILR is correctly updated on a regular basis to allow employers to apply for the incentive as soon as possible. If there are any errors within the ILR then this can result in delays to the claim process.
Some of the common errors that we are recording are listed below:
- No actual end date recorded in the Work Experience Placement field on the ILR. We use the actual end date to verify the duration of the placement to ensure that the minimum duration for the incentive has been met. The planned end date will not be used on these checks, just the actual start and actual end date.
- Incorrect postcodes listed against the work experience placement learning aim, we use the postcode to match and verify the employer locations where the placement was hosted.
We are planning a series of webinars in June to engage with providers to gain your feedback on this process and respond to any questions you may have.
The dates and invitations to these webinars will be emailed out to you directly.
You can also share your feedback with us through the monthly provider survey that all Traineeships providers receive. The release date for next survey will be the end of May 2021.
10. Information: the apprenticeship technical funding guide has been updated
We have published version 3 of the apprenticeships technical funding guide from August 2020.
This explains how funding will work for apprenticeships starting on or after 1 August 2020, including how we will calculate provider payments.
The updates from the previous guidance are some further clarifications particularly around apprenticeship starts from 1 April 2021, and updates around the hire an apprentice incentive on the apprenticeship service.
If you have any queries, please use the ESFA Help Centre to contact us.
11. Information: ESFA advanced learner loans funding and performance management rules 2021 to 2022
This week we will publish version 2 of the ESFA advanced learner loans funding and performance management rules 2021 to 2022.
The main change from version 1, published in March 2021, is the inclusion of the performance management rules for 2021 to 2022.
The rules apply to all providers of education and training holding a loan facility condition and loans bursary fund agreement with ESFA.
12. Information: local authority high needs funding: 2021 to 2022 operational guide survey
We would like to gather feedback and comments on the content and format of the current high needs funding: 2021 to 2022 operational guide. This information will help to inform and shape future publications of the guide.
If you would like to comment, access the survey and submit your responses by 11 June 2021.
The survey should take approximately 10 minutes, depending on responses.
If you have any questions, please contact us via email at [email protected]
Many thanks in advance for your participation and contributions.
Please note, this is not a mandatory exercise and feedback is entirely optional.
13. Information: important update from Get help with technology
Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers were provided by the Department for Education (DfE) as part of the Get help with Technology programme, to support remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some further education providers ordered ‘restricted’ Windows laptops and tablets with security software pre-installed. Licenses for this software will expire on 30 September 2021.
If you ordered 4G wireless routers, DfE will continue to provide data until 31 July 2021.
You need to reset these laptops, tablets, and routers so they can continue to be used.
If you ordered ‘Standard’ Windows devices that were provided without security settings, no action is required.
It’s a further education providers responsibility to safeguard the young people in their care. Guidance has been published on resetting laptops and 4G routers that explains how to restore factory settings and apply your own security software to these devices.
Please share this information with whoever is responsible for IT at your institution.
If you have any questions or encounter issues during the reset process, please contact us.
An introduction to aggregated employer demand, and the transfers matching service.
The apprenticeship service is pleased to bring you the next in our series of support webinars. Join us on 2 June at midday, when we will be discussing some new key features of the apprenticeship service.
The webinar will include:
- an overview of the aggregated employer demand solution
- an overview of the transfers matching service
- what these both mean for training providers
For more information, please see our webinar registration page.
15. Information: apprenticeships standards versioning – new Revisions Status Report
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) has updated the Revisions Status Report. This report will be updated regularly to show which live standards have entered IFATE’s formal revisions process, and the stage they are at in that process.
This regular dissemination of information aims to prewarn the sector that new versions are upcoming so it can prepare accordingly and allow IFATE to consult the sector on the appropriate notice period for each version change. It forms part of wider enhancements to the introduction of new versions of apprenticeship standards to the market.
Providers and EPAOs should review this note, which provides further information on the report and the action that providers and EPAOs should take with it, as well as the wider enhancements that we are planning.
16. Information: new window set to open for employer directory applications
A window for applications to the Institute’s new employer directory is due to open in June.
The Institute set up the directory of professional and employer-led organisations for Ofqual and the Office for Students (OfS) to draw on industry expertise as external quality assurance (EQA) responsibilities are transferred over to them.
Thousands of incredible employers already play a critical role in designing apprenticeships and end point assessment plans to meet the skills needs of their sectors, with support from the Institute.
Now, the Institute is looking for professional and employer led bodies to sit on our new employer directory. This directory will ensure industry voice remains at the centre of the EQA process for apprenticeship end point assessment, so that apprentices are best prepared for the real-life world of work.
You can see details about the employer directory, as well as how to apply, on the Institute’s website. No deadline for applications has been set yet.
The Institute is also hosting a drop-in session for anyone who would like to understand the employer directory a bit more. You can sign up here, the session will take place on Tuesday 15 June.
17. Information: Ofqual guidance for centres and students on the awarding process this year
To support centres and students through the awarding process this year Ofqual has recently published:
17.1 Guidance for centres
This guidance provides centres with clear guidance on a range of topics related to awarding this year, including:
- the role of internal and external quality assurance processes in ensuring results are consistent and fair
- retaining evidence of teacher assessed grades
- the process for appeals
- additional assessment opportunities
We have also included a section on cyber security, calling on awarding organisations and centres to be aware of and manage risks appropriately.
17.2 Student guide to awarding summer 2021
We have also made available guidance for students taking general qualifications and vocational and technical qualifications, which outlines the arrangements for awarding this summer and signposts additional sources of information.
We appreciate how hard everyone is working during these challenging times to ensure that as many students as possible can receive their results and progress on to the next stage of their education or employment.
18. Information: Flexible apprenticeships in Health and Social Care manual
The flexible apprenticeships in Health and Social Care manual has been published. This new manual sets out how flexibilities in apprenticeships can be used and delivered in Health and Social Care, to meet the needs of employers and apprentices. This includes:
- how the delivery of apprenticeship training can be flexed to meet employer needs
- how the length of an apprenticeship can be reduced where an individual has existing relevant knowledge or skills, while still providing a minimum of 12 months’ training.
You can find out more about front loading, accelerated apprenticeships, or the wider range of delivery models, in the manual.
For more information about hiring an apprentice you can visit apprenticeships.gov.uk.
19. Information 2021 to 2022 post-16 subcontracting funding rules
We are working to finalise the combined subcontracting funding rules for post-16 education for Adult Education Budget, European Social Fund and 16 to 19 funding streams. The subcontracting funding rules will be published as a single document aligning the subcontracting funding rules across all three funding streams. We anticipate that the combined rules will be published in June 2021 for funding year 2021 to 2022.
Due to the apprenticeship programme being employer-led, the subcontracting rules for apprenticeships will remain within the main set of apprenticeship funding rules. A clarification version will be published in the Summer and Version 1 prior to 1 August 2021.
We have also been finalising the Education and Skills (EDSK) funding agreements for funding year 2021 to 2022. The subcontracting contract clauses will be published as a separate schedule in addition to the main EDSK funding agreements. We aim to publish these by the end of July.
We have also reviewed the definition of a subcontracting. When the subcontracting consultation was published in June 2020 we tried to simply the definition of subcontracting in line with the overarching aims of the consultation. We have found that the definition when we have subsequently found that the simplified definition when tested in the market lead to increased confusion and significant volumes of providers seeking clarity as to what was covered. As such we will be revising the definition of subcontracting to: “A separate legal entity or an individual that has an agreement (called a subcontract) with you to deliver any element of the education and training we fund. A separate legal entity includes companies in your group, other associated companies and sole traders. An individual could include a person who is a sole trader, self-employed or employed by an agency unless those individuals are working under your direct management and control in the same way as your own employees”.
This will be reflected in the rules and contracts/agreements for 2021 to 2022.