I would like to start by saying a huge thanks to the hundreds of people who have helped us so far with refining our planned new model for making funding band recommendations for apprenticeships to the Secretary of State.
Our recent consultation on a new approach to recommending funding bands closed on 6 October.
We were delighted to share the proposals widely with over 1,000 people at supportive online engagement events. These interactive, digital events and workshops provided the opportunity for us to clarify the plans we’ve put forward. Thank you to all who attended and took part in the discussions.
We were also pleased that after discussing the proposals in more detail at these engagement activities, we received 180 formal responses to our consultation. This means that across both consultations we received over 400 separate responses.
I was really encouraged that so many respondents believed the proposed new approach was transparent, as increasing transparency is the key objective for us. But there’s still work to do to refine the model. Many respondents were concerned that the proposed changes could lead to reductions in their funding bands. This is not the intention of the model.
We will continue to refine the variable element of the model which allows employers to provide more bespoke estimates, and to test the impact of the model. We’ve also committed to capping any change in funding band to avoid market disruption at a time when we recognise many employers are struggling.
Many respondents also noted that the model did not take account of those costs associated with the delivery of an apprenticeship which are not eligible for Government funding. The eligible costs policy is outside the scope of this consultation, and there has been no change in this policy. Nevertheless, the ESFA have agreed in parallel to review this policy.
We plan to publish a full response to the consultation in parallel with the outputs from the testing work and the conclusion of the ESFA’s review. In the meantime, we’ve published an update on our website, which sets out some of the key themes emerging from the consultation and our initial responses to them.
In my last blog post, we included a call for volunteers to help us test the impact of the model. So far, we’ve had over 20 organisations volunteer to help with testing and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved. We are still looking for additional volunteers for future impact testing. If you’d like to get involved, or if you have any other questions, please contact the project team on Institute-Funding.CONSULTATION@education.gov.uk.
Thanks again for your continued participation in this work.