The Skills Funding Agency has recently published the funding guidance, rates and formula for 2016-17. This includes funding rules for the new Adult Education Budget (AEB), apprenticeships and adult learner loans.
The AEB is a new budget with rules designed to provide greater local flexibility for providers to respond to local needs, in advance of formal devolution of skills funding starting from 2018. The SFA have published a supporting document: Adult Education Budget — Changing Context and Arrangements for 2016 to 2017, see link below.
The document states that the new AEB ‘combines all SFA participation and support funding (not including European Social Fund, Advanced Learner Loans and apprenticeships). Its principal purpose is to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. It also enables more tailored programmes of learning to be made available, which do not need to include a qualification, to help those furthest from learning or the workplace.’
The SFA has confirmed that there have been no significant changes to the funding calculation in the funding year 2016 to 2017; the only change is how they set the rates for qualifications. If the SFA funded the qualification in 2015 to 2016, the same funding rate will be maintained.
For other qualifications, the SFA will set the rate based on regulated guided learning hours. They are no longer setting rates based upon the credit value of the qualification. For other learning activity not involving a qualification, the rate will be based on the planned hours of the learning.
The SFA has also published information on how they make qualifications, outside of apprenticeships, eligible for delivery as part of local flexibility. This recognises that localities, colleges and other training organisations are best placed to decide on the most appropriate type of provision to respond to local needs. The SFA will not require qualifications, delivered as part of local flexibility, to go through a formal approvals process. Should colleges and other training organisations decide to use qualifications, the only requirement is that the qualification is eligible for local delivery i.e. qualifications must meet the SFA’s six eligibility principles. Further information is available in the following document:
The funding documents for 2016-17 are all available on the www.gov.uk website:
Funding rules (including a summary of the changes):
Funding rates and formula: