Apprenticeship Standards – qualifying period

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Daniel Dowson 1 week ago.

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  • Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Hi,

    In the Apprenticeship QAR Dataset Production Spec 16-17 (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/651263/Apprenticeships_QAR_Dataset_Production_Spec_2016-17.pdf), page 3 specifies the “Fund_Qual_Exc” flag derivation has changed to exclude standards when calculating funding qualifying period.

    Similarly, page 6 in relation to exclusions states “Apprenticeships where the learner has withdrawn from the apprenticeship within the funding qualifying period, and the learning aim is not achieved. This only applies to frameworks.”.

    My interpretation of this is that Apprenticeship Standards do not have a qualifying period, and as such withdrawals from day 1 will therefore count negatively toward achievement rates.

    Do others agree with this? If so, it seems an enormous change to the methodology which will have a huge impact on achievement rates/minimum standards for providers who have embraced standards.

    Daniel

     
    #210911

    Martin West
    Participant

    Hi Daniel,
    See:
    19. All apprenticeship starts from 1 May 2017 under the new funding model (Funding model 36 ‘Apprenticeships (from 1 May 2017)’) are excluded from the QAR calculations; these will be included in 2017 to 2018 calculations.
    HTH

     
    #210915

    Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Hi Martin,

    That doesn’t cover standards delivered by trailblazers/FM81.

    Thanks

     
    #210917

    steveh
    Participant

    Daniel, I think your interpretation of what it says in that document may be correct HOWEVER, I don’t think this is an intentional change of policy but rather a mistake (ie they forgot about trailblazer delivery)?

    Worth dropping a line to the email address in para 57 for clarification (and sharing with the group, of course ;))?

     
    #210930

    Martin West
    Participant

    Hi Daniel,
    The Business rules for the 201617 QAR do confirm the qualifying period does apply in the Exclusions section (25)
    c) Any learning aim / apprenticeship within scope of QAR that a learner has withdrawn from within the respective funding qualifying period without achievement.
    i. If the planned duration is 168 days or greater the qualifying period is 42 days.
    ii. If the planned duration is between 14 and 167 days the qualifying period is 14 days.
    iii. There is no qualifying period when the planned duration is less than 14 days.

    I would think it is only the wording ‘This only applies to frameworks’ that is incorrect and misleading as the identification of Programme aims includes Programme type 25 but only where the FM is not 99 or 36.
    As Steve has said it is probably a mistake.

     
    #210963

    Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I’ve raised it with ESFA and will let you know if/when I receive a response. My initial thoughts were that it must be a mistake, until I saw it referenced in two different places – that seems too coincidental.

    Daniel

     
    #210972

    Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Hi,

    Nothing back from ESFA as yet, however ProAchieve have responded stating they’ve had confirmation of such, I’ve pasted the response below.


    You are correct, the funding qualifying period does not apply to apprenticeship standards. We released v15.0 on the 11th October and the ESFA released the technical specification on the 12th (frustratingly). We found the same thing as you and contacted the ESFA directly, asking for confirmation of the change which they provided, clarifying that the only parts of the programme that has a qualifying period are the English and maths components, which do not affect the way the entire programme is reported in the QAR.

    We did consider taking down v15.0 and applying this change to the new version there and then, but by the time confirmation was received a large number of providers had already upgraded, and it was decided re-releasing v15.0 to accommodate the change would cause too much confusion.

    We’re midway through the development of v15.1, planned for release at the end of the month (provided the ESFA have released the 16/17 hierarchy file by this point) that will implement this and other changes to the system for the QAR.

    Daniel

     
    #211008

    Martin West
    Participant

    The current Provider funding rules includes the following but makes no reference to that this does not apply to Apprenticeship Standards.

    Qualifying days for funding
    P177. The apprentice must be in learning for a minimum of 42 days between the learning start date and learning planned end-date before they qualify for funds from an employer’s digital account or government-employer co-investment, including learning support.
    P178. Where funding is paid for an apprentice who does not subsequently meet the qualifying period, we will recover the funding from you.

    I must be missing something here as they don’t take Maths/English from an employers digital account.

     
    #211052

    Martin West
    Participant

    I can only conclude that the process regarding including Apprenticeship Trailblazer Standards in the 2016/17 QAR has not been thought through by the ESFA.

    The general principle that has always been used to exclude early withdrawals is where no funding has been drawn down by the provider. Due to the different funding methodology used in Trailblazer funding this is only possible by checking both the 42-day qualifying period and a zero balance on the PMR records to ensure that the learner has not been funded.

    I would think that others would agree with me that where learners are not funded they should be excluded from the QAR but I expect it is now too late for the ESFA to reconsider this and we will just have to put up with this disparity and change in QSR methodology that I expect will have a detrimental impact on reporting achievement rates for Trailblazer Apprenticeship standards.

    I would also advise the ESFA that correct terminology would aid clarity and that it is not appropriate to refer to ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ when they mean ‘Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards’ or alternatively refer to the Funding Model for any avoidance of doubt.

     
    #211177

    Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I agree providers need standardisation on the terminology use between standards & pre/post May starts & trailblazers.

    I’ve had a response from my query to the ESFA which explained the minimum standards calculation for traineeships – rather unhelpful given the question I asked.

    Again I’ll update if I get a more meaningful response.

    Daniel

     
    #212448

    Daniel Dowson
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’ve now had the following response from ESFA, which confirms this lack of qualifying period does just apply to trailblazers.

    Thanks for your input.

    Daniel

    Thank you for your query.

    The reason that the qualifying period in the technical specifications only refers to frameworks is because of the way in which trailblazer standards are funded. The principles behind a qualifying period are to ensure value for money and not to fund delivery where potentially very little training may have been delivered in this time.

    Under the trailblazer pilot, there is no qualifying period for the apprenticeship; the only qualifying period in the trailblazer funding rules refers to English and maths learning aims.

    In the pilot, a provider only earns funding when an employer pays a provider, and records this payment on the ILR. If an apprentice on the trailblazer pilot leaves early, it is likely that an employer will not pay for any delivery in this period, or will expect the provider to refund any payments already made, and this acts like a qualifying period. If the employer is willing to pay for any delivery in what would have been covered under the qualifying period under other programmes, then we will match and double that payment in the pilot. Because payments for English and maths learning aims are not linked to employer payments, we apply the conventional qualifying period to these aims.

    We will exclude all trailblazer standards for QARs for 2016 to 2017 where the apprentice withdraws without a net employer contribution payment being recorded (i.e. any payments minus refunds); this will be consistent with excluding all non-funded apprenticeships.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we realise that this is not included in the technical specifications and we will include this into the exclusion criteria for version 2 of the technical specification.

    Kind regards, Sally

     
    #214198
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