This is the second in a series of question and answer sessions that we are running on feconnect. The aim is to give you the opportunity to quiz Agency specialists.
If you have any comments or requests for clarification on the 2015 to 2016 Funding Rules published on 9 February, the SFA’s Sarah Stear and members of the Funding Systems team will be responding to posts in this forum.
You can start posting now, by replying below. We will begin to put up replies from Wednesday. The forum will close on Friday 20 February.
To help us answer your questions quickly, please keep them succinct and number them if there are several in your post.
As well as taking your questions, Sarah and her team will also be keen to hear how you have found the new simplified arrangement of the document.
Please remember to keep your questions relevant to all members of feconnect. If there is a query over funding or allocations that specifically affects you and which would require fuller investigation, please contact the Service Desk email@example.comFebruary 9, 2015 at 10:20 am #13354
Does the date on the ACE form (i.e. the date it is signed) have to match the last day in learning as stated on the ILR?
The Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Form states that the date entered on the form for the last day in learning is:
“ …the actual end date of your learning – it is the date that you were informed that all training activities, assessments and exams relating to your Apprenticeship had been completed (please note that final achievement confirmation may be subject to IV/EV verification and/or certification by a relevant Awarding Organisation).”February 9, 2015 at 10:35 am #13358
could you clarify “Funding Rules” summary of changes
Principals of Funding
If a learner has gained a GCSE A*-C, but at assessment come out at a much lower level, would they then be fundable? (They may have been away from education for several years etc)
If a learner has already achieved a GCSE grade A* to C, they would not be funded by us to take the same GCSE again regardless of any assessment. This is because the learner has already achieved the GCSE and therefore no further funding is available.
Principals of Evidence
If a learner self declares low qualifications and this would result in them being “fully funded”, we would then have to check the learners prior qualification via the Learner Records Service to prove their entiltment? (assuming that PLR stand for Personal Learning Record within the LRS)
if this is the case surely this totally contradicts the idea of “self declaration” and this rule must stand for all self declared reasons for “fee remission”, benefits included.
Thank you for your query.
With the availability of the Personal Learning Record (PLR), the tools exist for a provider to check whether the self-declaration of the learner is in agreement with what is stated on their PLR. Whilst we are not stating the what is on the PLR automatically overrides the self-declaration of a learner, we would expect you to challenge the learner where their self-declaration is different to the PLR.
Whilst this is not a change to the rules, we will ensure that this is included in the next changes document.
thank you in advance.
JoanFebruary 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm #13364
Agree with Joan that 151 means we’re not doing self-dec on prior attainment anymore. Is that really the intention?
(i have some other things, but still working through)February 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm #13367
Can you confirm that the Community Learning aim references in this document – link below – are still current or has it been or will be updated? I know the ICT aims changed from this January but I want to be sure we are using the right ones as this is dated 2013 to 2014 and I can’t find another version
The aims listed in the 2013 to 2014 Community Learning aims catalogue are still current. However, the Community Learning aims are also available on the LARS database and through the learning aims search facility on the Hub. We are aiming to remove the 2013 to 2014 Community Learning aims catalogue shortly. Providers who deliver Community Learning will have to use the Hub or the LARS database to find the appropriate learning aim ref.February 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm #13378
Can you confirm, please, the position on providers claiming full funding for learners who are unemployed, are not claiming benefits (or are in receipt of benefits other than JSA/WRAG) but who are attending training with the view of ultimately gaining employment. Thank you
Learners are not eligible for full funding only because they are unemployed, as stated in paragraphs 194.5 and 194.6. However, learners can be fully funded if they are in receipt of the state benefits listed in paragraph 194.5 or, if they are in receipt of any other benefits, are also unemployed as stated in paragraph 194.6. Where the learner is unemployed and is in receipt of state benefits other than those listed in paragraph 194.5 (‘other state benefits’), full funding is at the provider’s discretion. There have been no policy changes that have affected these particular rules since 2013 to 2014.February 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm #13380
Please can you confirm that para 309 only applies to the advanced-level Apprenticeship in Children and Young People’s Workforce PATHWAY 1 (EYE), and not all 3 pathways?
This funding rule applies to the advanced-level Apprenticeship in Children and Young People’s Workforce pathway 1 (Early Years Educator) and not to pathway 2 (Children and Young People’s Social Care) or pathway 3 (Residential Childcare). We will make this clear in subsequent versions of the funding rules.February 9, 2015 at 4:12 pm #13382
In the ESF section, paragraph 105 says if a College has a main stream budget and contract with you, such as an ASB contract, our activity will be used by you as match funding for ESF. How does a College know which of the learning aims they offer will be used for ESF matching and therefore need to be managed according to the requirements of the ESF programme or is it everything the College offers?
All ASB and 16-18 Apprenticeship funding should be considered as matched. Claims of match are made in arrears and providers will be notified which learners/aims have been used so they can archive them appropriately.February 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm #13384
A few things (separate email about *really* pedantic things sent to fundingdatasystems!).
Para 158.10. The husband, wife, civil partner and child of any of the above in this paragraph. (158.1 – 158.9)
That’s a big change, as, as far as I can tell, you’re saying a family member of someone with DLR/ELR etc is automatically fundable, regardless of the three year rule?
This is not a change: In the 2014 to 2015 Funding Rules we said:
Anyone with any of the statuses listed below, and their husbands, wives,
civil partners and children, are eligible for funding.
11.1. Refugee Status
11.2. Discretionary Leave to Enter
11.3. Discretionary Leave to Remain
11.4. Exceptional Leave to Enter
11.5. Exceptional Leave to Remain
11.6. Indefinite Leave to Enter
11.7. Indefinite Leave to Remain
11.8. Humanitarian protection
So to state that a family member of an individual with these statuses is eligible to be funded is a clarification from 2014 to 2015.
Para 169.1 those who have been granted a Tier 4 Visa by the UK government (unless they meet the eligibility requirements of any of the categories in this chapter)
So they’re not eligible unless they are? Why has this been amended from last year? Is it Family Members on Tier 4s, where they’re eligible because their EU Principal is?
This year, we have included a section for learners who are not eligible for funding. This includes learners with a Tier 4 Visa as this is not a reason to be funded in its own right. Learners with a Tier 4 Visa can only be funded if the learner meets the other conditions set out in the funding rules. I think we can make this clearer in the rules and would therefore thank you for your response. We will make this clearer in version 2.
3. Ineligibility 2
Para 169.5. individuals who are ordinarily resident in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, unless they are also ordinarily resident within England.
How can you be ordinarily resident in two places at once?
A person can be ordinarily resident in more than one country at the same time. A ruling by Lord Scarman stated a key distinction between ‘ordinary residency’ and ‘domicile’.
If, for example, an individual resides outside of the United Kingdom, but maintains property here and frequently visits the United Kingdom, they would retain their ordinary residency.
4. Full Funding
Para 194.6 needs some ANDs in with the bullet points, unless we really can give full funding to ppl unemployed but not in receipt of benefit, which I’m pretty sure isn’t the case?
Thank you for your feedback. The bullet points in paragraph 194.6 do represent an ‘and’ list – in other words, all the conditions must be met for the learner to be eligible. This follows current guidance from the Plain English Campaign, however we will continue to review and take advice on the best way of presenting rules such as this in order to ensure maximum clarity for providers.
5. Learning Support
Para 401. You must only claim amounts for your costs of delivering the support to the learner and not include any indirect costs or overheads.
That’s never actually been written down like that before, has it? I’ve checked back as far as 10/11 and we’ve not had that sentence before…
These exact words have moved from the evidence requirement section so that they are now included within the main text. In 2014 to 2015, we said on page 60 that:
Paragraph 225 – When you claim Learning Support over the fixed monthly rate you must keep evidence of total spending on the learner, and demonstrate why the cost of the support is greater than the total earned from the fixed monthly rate. You must keep evidence of why you have claimed the amount you have, which would be linked to the learner’s assessment and planned Learning Support claim. You must only claim amounts for your costs of delivering the support to the learner and not include any indirect costs or overheads.
We felt that this sentence was not explicitly asking for evidence but, rather, telling providers what they can and cannot claim for. We agreed with the policy lead that it was more appropriate to present the sentence as a rule given there was no other rule within the learning support section that set out this essential detail.
Therefore the ’new’ rule is simply a clarification and does not represent any change to existing policy or the requirements on providers.
6. Community Learning
Evidence for Paragraph 447 – proof of age and evidence that the learner meets residency criteria.
Am assuming the learner signing the enrolment form which contains questions about residency to say they are telling the truth is evidence? We’re not *really* asking CL learners for passports, are we?
In paragraph 125.2 we state that you have to evidence that the learner is eligible for funding, and at the rate of funding being claimed. In paragraph 134.2 we say that the learning agreement must contain the assessment of eligibility for funding and a record that you have seen evidence provided by the learner. It is up to each provider to have their own processes to establish eligibility. The actual individual requirements is a matter for the provider to decide how they can have the assurance that this individual is eligible.
(this is a much shorter list than four years ago, well done everyone!!!)February 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm #13386
Is this open for EFA funded Learners also?
We’re only asking members of the SFA’s Funding Systems team to reply to posts in this forum. If you have a question that’s solely about EFA-funded learners, then possibly best to refer it to your EFA adviser. Alternatively, please email your regional team – email addresses are on the EFA website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/education-funding-agencyFebruary 10, 2015 at 9:02 am #13391
I think it might also be good if there is clarity on the definition of “Unemployed”. Certainly in 14/15 ESF includes those who are working less than 16hours per week and reporting earnings to Jobcentre Plus , however, for the Adult Skills budget we were told that those working less than 16hours per week are classified as Employed.
We are aware that there are different criteria for the definition of ‘unemployed’ between different funded programmes. The current definitions represent the different target groups that the funding is aimed at. We will continue to have discussion with our colleagues in BIS and DWP to look at aligning these definitions where possible.February 10, 2015 at 7:07 pm #13419
Paragraph 314.2: (You must) pass on to the employer the AGE grant payment within 30 working days of getting the grant from us.
There’s always a delay between us receiving AGE grant payments and the report that tells us which employers the payment was for, which means that we’re given less than the above 30 days in which to process the payment to the employer. The delay can vary wildly – September 2014’s report was sent to us a week and a half after the remittance advice, while December 2014’s didn’t reach us until three weeks had gone by, the remittance coming on the 22nd Dec, the report not until the 12th Jan.
As with all providers, we have additional processes that we have to follow before payment of the grant can be forwarded to the relevant employers, and while 30 days is arguably more than enough time in which to process the payment, the fact of the matter is that the delays to the report being issued to us can eat into this period of time significantly and cause further delays.
Thank you for your comments. The Agency has committed to sending the remittance advice / validation error report within 10 working days of payment. This is set out in the Training Organisation Fact Sheet for AGE where we also set out the requirement to pay the employer within 30 days of receipt of the funds from the Agency. We will continue to try to get the remittance advice to you as early as possible but sometimes this has extended to the full 10 working days as was the case in December. This still recognises that providers have internal processes to manage and allows at least 20 working days for providers to pay the employer.February 11, 2015 at 11:45 am #13432
The revised financial contributions section with its definitions for Full, Co and No funding seems to be missing some definitions for workplace learning above level 2 for the 19 to 23 age band.
While it may be assumed that Full funding for first full level 3 and first full level 4 covers both classroom and workplace delivery this is not stated, co-funding is indicated for classroom but workplace delivery is not indicated in any section excepting for level 3 learning aims not classed as full and delivered through workplace learning where this is included in the no funding section.
Providers need to understand a learner’s eligibility for funding but it is very difficult from the revised guidance format to establish this for all age bands, levels of provision delivered between classroom and workplace. I normally provide both flow charts and Government Contributions diagram similar to that last produced by the SFA in 2012/13 but the guidance format this year shows that the guidance is not fit for purpose so can this be improved or better still be replace with the 2012/13 format that we all understood.
Thank you for your comments. The eligibility to full funding for a learner aged 19 to 23 for a first full level 3 or a level 4 (if they jump from full level 2 without attaining a level 3) is for both classroom and workplace, which is why paragraph 194.4 does not mention either classroom or workplace learning. However, this does not apply to apprenticeships, where the funding for apprentices aged 19 or older is described in paragraph 195.1. We will review this to see if we can make this clearer in the next version.
Definition of Unemployed
I have asked this question before but never received an explicate answer from the SFA.
Where ‘unemployed’ is referred to in the guidance for eligibility and funding does this include together with those that are not employed those that are employed for less than 16 hours per week and earn less than the earning threshold?
There are different funding eligibility requirements for unemployed learners depending upon the source and purpose of the funding. Individuals cannot be in paid employment where providers have the discretion to fund because they are unemployed and on a state benefit that is not JSA, ESA (WRAG) or Universal Credit and mandated to skills training. However, individuals can be employed for less than 16 hours and receive full funding where they are on JSA, ESA (WRAG) or Universal Credit and mandated to skills training because their eligibility is based on them being in receipt of that specific benefit.
RegardsFebruary 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm #13434
As you may have noticed, the team has started to pass answers to your questions to me. I have edited the answers into your original post, and highlighted the answer in bold as this keeps all of the information together.
ChrisFebruary 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm #13445
Does the date on the ACE form (i.e. the date it is signed) have to match the last day in learning as stated on the ILR?
The Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Form states that the date entered on the form for the last day in learning is:
“ …the actual end date of your learning – it is the date that you were informed that all training activities, assessments and exams relating to your Apprenticeship had been completed (please note that final achievement confirmation may be subject to IV/EV verification and/or certification by a relevant Awarding Organisation).”
This doesn’t answer my question, it simply repeats what is stated on the ACE form. I need a yes or no answer please – does the date on the ACE form (i.e. the date it is signed) have to match the last day in learning/actual end date as stated on the ILR?
The Funding Systems team has no input to the content of the ACE forms. Please could you contact the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (FISSS) firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice and information.February 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm #13453
I think I can answer that for you but conformation from the SFA would be appreciated.
The last day in learning date on the form should match the Actual end date of the framework as recorded on the ILR but the date the Apprentice signs the form may be the same or after this date but cannot be before it.
HTHFebruary 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm #13456
Nick Chomyk Funding Systems Manager for the SFA has made the following statements on this forum with regard to Apprenticeships which do not seem to reflected current practice and individual sections in the funding rules and these may need to be revised to aid providers and auditors understanding of what the SFA expects.
‘You do not have to use separate end dates for each of the learning aims within an apprenticeship. We (the Agency) accept that the last day in learning for the apprenticeship is when you can evidence learning for any of the open learning aims within the framework.’
It is thought that this correctly reflects Par.129 of the funding rules with states:
‘If an apprentice leaves without achieving, the last date of learning is the last date where you have evidence that the learner was still in learning for any learning aim that is part of their apprenticeship framework.’
However he has also said that you would use this date ’the last day in learning (Learning Actual End Date) for all open learning aims within the framework’ but this is not consistent with Par 129 of the funding rules which states:
‘If a learner withdraws from learning without achieving, you must only claim funding up to the last date where you have evidence that the learner was still in learning.’
Up to now Providers have always applied this requirement to each funded aim but if it is now the case that this does not apply to individual aims the guidance should be updated to reflect this.
We consider an apprenticeship framework as a single learning activity. Following feedback from the sector in 2014 to 2015 it was agreed that the Learning actual end date for an apprentice who does not complete and achieve their framework will be the last evidenced date in learning for any of the learning aims in the framework they are following. The Learning actual end date would then be applied to any open learning aim within the framework. This was to reduce the bureaucracy of identifying separate Learning actual end dates for each learning aim, therefore making the process of withdrawing an apprentice easier. We will review paragraph 129 to ensure that it is clear what the funding rule is.February 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm #13465
Register of Training Organisation and subcontracting. Paragraphs 8 and 23 – 24 would seem to conflict, in the case of a scenario whereby Subcontractor is on The Register and already has an aggregate value of contracts of £100k+, but fails an update and is therefore taken off the Register. Does one set of paragraphs have precedence over the other?
[8.] To continue to be listed on the Register you and any subcontractors listed on the Register must successfully complete the Register Refresh and update your information when we ask you to. If you fail, or do not update when asked, you must apply at the next opening of the Gateway. During this period you and any relevant subcontractors:
[8.1.] will not be listed on the Register
[8.2.] will not be invited to tender, and
[8.3.] will not be able to increase contract value through growth cases
[23.] You must not appoint any subcontractors with a contract value of £100,000 or greater for each funding year unless they are listed on the Register of Training Organisations first.
[23.1.] This also applies if the subcontract from you would take the total value of subcontracts that the subcontractor holds to deliver education and training funded by us to £100,000 or more.
[23.2.] You must obtain this information from each proposed subcontractor and also refer to the latest published List of Declared Subcontractors and Register of Training Organisations.
[24.] If a subcontractor you are using exceeds the £100,000 threshold and is not listed on the Register of Training Organisations, you must immediately end your subcontract with that organisation. This applies regardless of whether you were the provider whose contract took the subcontractor over the threshold.
In this instance, paragraph 8 applies as it is this paragraph that relates to subcontractors that are already on the Register and then subsequently fail the process. We will review this to see if we can make this clearer in the next version.February 12, 2015 at 12:01 pm #13482
In the Funding Rates and Formula document paragraph 35. it says ‘To incentivise the take up of English and maths GCSE providers that deliver these qualifications to adults aged 19 and over, outside apprenticeships, will receive a higher rate of funding through the ASB of £811 instead of £724. The increased rate applies to learner starts from 1 August 2015. We will no longer fund English and maths QCF Level 2 qualifications for starts from 1 August 2015. The full list of fundable English and maths qualifications is available on the Hub.
Does this include Functional Skills English and Maths Level 2, are these still fundable?
The link does not point to the full list of fundable qualifications and the current version of the 2015_16_Simplified_Funding_Rates spreadsheet shows some Functional Skills English and Maths Level 2 qualifications but not all (No EDEXCEL ones).
We have put a copy of this question into the new Q&A thread on the funding rates. The SFA’s Funding Rates and Calculations team will pick the question up and provide an answer next week.February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm #13485
Another 15/16 Funding Rules question. I could not see an equivalent to paragraph 461 from the 14/15 Funding Rules. (“461. You must carry out an investigation, at your own cost, if there is any evidence of a subcontractor’s irregular financial or delivery activity. You must report the outcome of the investigation, in writing, to our Central Delivery Service. You must do this within 10 days of your investigation ending.”)
I can see that in the 15/16 funding rules there are clear, new requirements that minimise the risk of irregularities occurring, and that following paragraphs 41 and 45 would reveal if there were any problems of this nature, and these could be fully investigated and dealt with. Is it implied though that the provider would then tell the Central Delivery Service anyway, which would trigger paragraph 19 of the Rules, the Intervention Policy, and/or a Notice of Concern presumably for the resulting adverse audit opinion (mention of which appears in Conditions of Funding (Grant)), for instance?
I was surprised I could not see an equivalent paragraph, given that other things that I had spotted were previously implied in the Rules have now been explicitly stated to give clarity. I still have several documents left to read, so I apologise if I have missed this.
This rule has been removed as it is covered within the Skills Funding Agency’s funding agreements.February 12, 2015 at 5:28 pm #13499
SteveH posted earlier in this thread and made mention of a separate email that he had submitted. The Funding Systems team thought that replies would be of interest to the wider feconnect community, so, with Steve’s permission, we are posting the questions here.
1) Paras 73-75 are more confusing that not having those paras in, aren’t they? I know what you’re trying to say (that LLDD “yes” doesn’t equal funded by EFA under 24), but I’m not sure it’s coming out very clearly?
Thank you for your feedback. We will continue to take advice on this and take a view on making any changes for version 2 in order to ensure clarity and consistency with other sections that cover LLDD.
2) 149. If we fund a learner you must accurately complete all ILR fields as required in the ILR Specification, even if they are not used for funding. We will use the ILR to monitor the funding rules and will reclaim funding if the data does not show eligibility for funding.
Is this two paragraphs elided? Are you saying you’ll take money off us for not fully completing the ILR? Doesn’t that make all ILR fields funding fields?
It is important to us that all ILR data reported to us is correct and accurate, even where the ILR field is not used directly to calculate funding. All ILR data is used by the SFA and government to confirm that funding is going to the specific priority groups as described in the Skills Funding Statements. It is also used to determine the future level of government funding. We quality assure the ILR data by monitoring it. We then compare the results of the monitoring activity to the funding rules and the ILR specification. Where we find that the data does not support the provider’s funding claim, for example in eligibility or prior attainment, the SFA will take action to get this corrected, which could include reclaiming funding.
3) 151. Where the self-declaration relates to prior attainment you must check this against any information held in the PLR. If the PLR contradicts the self-declaration, you must challenge the information supplied by the learner.
What if the PLR is wrong which, anecdotally, I’m hearing it is quite a bit?
As paragraph 151 states, in this instance you must challenge the information that is being supplied by the learner. It does not state that you must assume that the PLR is correct, and if the learner is able to evidence that the PLR is wrong, then their declaration would hold.
4) 196.10 a trade union worker on the day they start TUC learning aims
Not sure where “worker” has come from, is still “representative” in the rest of the Rules?
We will amend this sentence in version 2 of the rules to say ‘trade union representative’ in order to be consistent with other paragraphs. Thank you for pointing this out.
5) I continue to formally object to para 220. I’d thought, with the progress we’d made to understanding learners’ journeys, particularly on ESOL, that there may be more understanding that a learner whose diagnostic says they are emerging at E3 is in no way ready for L1… I agree that an L1 learner shouldn’t be on E2, which is what this rule is really about, but the stark language used isn’t helping anyone.
Thank you for your point made. We acknowledge your objection but currently this policy remains and we will not be changing the rules on this issue. It is important for us to ensure that our funding is adding sufficient value and does not duplicate prior learning. We would be concerned that any changes to such policy would not stretch learners sufficiently and would risk consolidating what the learner already knows.
The initial assessment determines the level and the diagnostic determines where specifically there are strengths and weaknesses in particular areas, in particular the spiky profile. If a learner needs extra help in any particular area there are a large number of English and maths QCF units that can be used to strengthen their skills or fill any gaps.
6) 230.5. unemployed and on a wider state benefit
JOIPs for wider benefits isn’t mentioned in the changes document, even though that’s quite a big thing to my mind?
Paragraph 94 of the 2014 to 2015 Funding Rules said the following:
94. To claim job outcome payments for unemployed learners receiving wider benefits, or learners on a Traineeship, you must receive a declaration from the learner that they have started work.
However, we have recognised that by not including this within the bulleted list in paragraph 92 it may not have been clear to everyone that this type of learner could claim a job outcome payment. It was for this reason we have tried to make this clearer within the 2015 to 2016 document. We will however, reflect this clarification within the revised changes document. Thank you for pointing this out.February 13, 2015 at 2:34 pm #13553
Para 151. Where the self-declaration relates to prior attainment you must check this against any information held in the PLR. If the PLR contradicts the self-declaration, you must challenge the information supplied by the learner.
As we have to give the Learner the option to opt out of sharing their personal learning record what would we do if they refuse to allow us access to their PLR?
Where the learner declines to share the PLR with the provider then this would be recorded in the learning agreement. By doing this the provider fulfils the requirements of paragraph 151. However, we recognise that it is rare for a learner to decline access to a provider.February 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm #13595
Sorry, not sure why i didn’t spot this one earlier.
89. We will not fund a learner to repeat a qualification unless it is English and maths within an apprenticeship where the original qualifications in English and maths do not meet the requirements of the apprenticeship framework.
Something that’s been frequently discussed in the past, but I’m not sure how you’re going to find out if people are breaking it, as I don’t believe you have the resources to longditudinally compare our data returns. Anyway, the key point is “what do you mean by repeat?” is it:
A learner who achieves a qualification will not be funded again
A learner who completes, but fails, a qualification will not be funded again
A learner who withdraws having passed the qualifying period will not be funded again
(obviously it’s the first one, but what about the other two?)
Thank you for your query. The rule in paragraph 89 is about us not funding learners to repeat a qualification that they have already achieved. We will clarify this in the next version of the rules. Where a learner has previously studied towards, but not achieved, a qualification, they can be funded to repeat it but relevant prior learning needs to be taken into account in the amount of funding claimed. As stated in paragraph 98, funding must not be claimed where a learner only resits a learning aim assessment or examination and no extra learning takes place.February 16, 2015 at 11:18 am #13626
The team here at the SFA thought that the following query, posted to them direct, would be of interest to feconnecters:
Have the OLASS rules for 24+ learners studying units and awards at level 3 changed in 2015/16?
Funding for OLASS learners aged 24 or older at level 3 and 4 ceased in 2013/14 with the introduction of 24+ Advanced Learning Loans. Therefore, there is no policy change within the 2015/16 rules as they continue not to be funded through OLASS budget beyond level 2. We have, however, amended paragraph 313 of the 2014/15 Funding Rules for clarity and to ensure consistency. The OLASS section of the 2015/16 funding rules now states the existing policy position as follows:
462. Offenders in prison who are aged 24 or over at the start of learning and studying at levels 3 and 4 will not be eligible for funding through OLASS, but may be eligible to apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan (Loan) for certain types of provision.February 20, 2015 at 11:35 am #13726
Hello, please can you clarify whether the final bullet point of paragraph 194.4 in the 2015/16 rules is an intentional change from co-funding to full funding. The paragraph indicates that 19-23 learners who are doing a L2 which is not a full L2 are fully funded if they don’t already hold a full L2 and need the non-full L2 as a stepping stone to a full L2. This doesn’t seem to be covered in the 2014/15 rules, although it does describe at paragraph 47.4 that co-funding applies for “A level-2 learning aim not classified as full and delivered in classroom learning”. Thank you.
Thank you for your query. In responding to this we are assuming your query relates to the last bullet point on page 45, rather than the last bullet point of the paragraph which refers to level 4 learning aims.
Where an individual has an entitlement to a first full level 2 and is aged 19 to 23 we will fully fund learning aims that help a learner achieve that entitlement where it is classroom learning. For example, where a learner has 4 GCSEs at grade C or better we would fund a further GCSE at level 2 so that the learner achieves a full level 2, which is 5 GCSEs at grade C or better. This a clarification from 2014 to 2015 and offers continued support to the priority group of individuals aged 19 to 23 who are without a first full level 2 and who are aiming to achieve this.February 20, 2015 at 11:49 am #13730
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