ESFA weekly round-up - Issue 377

Education & Skills Funding Agency's weekly round-up of business-critical information to ESFA-funded colleges, other training organisations and direct grant employers. (25 Oct 2017)

Final funding claims 2016 to 2017 – signature required

Your 2016 to 2017 final claim form closes at 5pm Wednesday, 25 October. Once your claim has been submitted you have 3 additional working days to digitally sign your claim.

Your claim needs to be signed on the Skills Funding Service by 5pm Monday, 30 October by your principal/CEO or a delegated authority.

EDFA have published the guidance for funding claims 2016 to 2017 and a user guide to help you complete the digital form.

For further information or related queries, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

GOV.UK content survey

ESFA need your help to improve information about further education, skills and apprenticeships on GOV.UK.

Their short survey will help them understand how you use their content and the information areas that are important to you. It should take around 2 minutes to complete.

Thank you for answering their questions, your feedback really matters.


 ESFA e-bulletin for schools, colleges, local authorities and other 16 to 19 providers

16 to 19 infrastructure changes in maintained schools

ESFA have contacted local authorities this week about returning details of any 16 to 19 infrastructure changes in maintained schools for the academic year 2018 to 2019 by 30 November 2017. This includes details of any:

  • new school sixth forms
  • closing school sixth forms
  • phased closure of sixth forms
  • mergers between existing school sixth forms

All files should be uploaded to the ESFA Information Exchange in the document exchange ‘revenue funding’ folder, under ‘AY 2018-19’.

To access the document exchange log into ESFA Information Exchange and choose the document exchange tab at the top of the page. For support and guidance about ESFA Information Exchange, please visit our support page.

National Leaders of Further Education

ESFA have published information about the National Leaders in Further Education (NLFE) programme.

The aim of the NLFE programme is to engage and mobilise outstanding leaders within the further education sector to work with their peers in supporting improvement, so as to secure the best possible outcomes for learners at all colleges. NLFEs will be supported in their role by their senior leadership teams and members of staff in their own colleges.

ESFA intend to appoint between 30 to 35 NLFEs by the end of 2018 through a phased approach. Each year, ESFA expect an NLFE (including their team) to commit a minimum of 10 days to their role, and to undertake at least one major improvement project partnering with another college.

To find out more, and get details of how to apply, visit the guidance for potential applicants on GOV.UK.

Strategic College Improvement Fund

ESFA have published information about the Strategic College Improvement Fund on GOV.UK.

The pilot stage of the Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF) will support eligible colleges as they undertake a range of quality improvement activities. SCIF grants are directed at colleges that face significant quality challenges (Grade 3 or 4 for overall effectiveness, or for apprenticeship, at their most recent Ofsted inspection).

Grants will enable these colleges to work with a high-performing partner college on a tailored programme of activities that helps improve the quality of their provision and leads to better outcomes for learners, employers, and local communities.

The SCIF pilot stage will run from November 2017 to July 2018, and we expect to award between 10 and 15 grants.

Office for Students consultation

DfE have published a consultation on the regulatory framework for Office for Students.

The consultation seeks views on the proposals for a new approach to regulation in higher education and the approach to the transition of providers to the new regulatory framework.


Inform October 2017

Update on adult education budget (AEB) procurement

The procured AEB contracts have now been issued. To distinguish between allocated AEB in the run-down contracts or grant agreements, providers must use LDM code 357 for the procured AEB activity that starts from 1 November.

Qualification achievement rates (QAR) dataset production specification documents for 2016 to 2017

EFSA have published the QAR dataset production specification documents for 2016 to 2017.

These documents should be read alongside the business rules which explain the methodology for calculating qualification achievement rates for 2016 to 2017.

Learner satisfaction survey 2017 to 2018

The learner satisfaction survey runs from 30 October 2017 to 4 April 2018.

Letters have been sent to your Business Operations contact, detailing the actions providers need to take now.

Further guidance on how to take part is available on GOV.UK.

For further information, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0370 267 0001.

Feedback from non-levying-paying employers

Non-levy-paying employers will not be able to register for an apprenticeship service account until at least 2018.

But they can still use other parts of the service on GOV.UK to help them plan their apprenticeship programme right now.

EFSA want the apprenticeship service to be able to support employers who will not be paying the levy, when they can register to use it. Therefore, EFSA would like to gather their views about apprenticeships. In particular, EFSA want to find out about their needs for apprenticeship training and what services they would like to see in an online apprenticeship service.

If you are working with non-levy-paying employers, please encourage them to let EFSA know their views by asking them to complete their short survey.

Funding reports guidance

EFSA have published guidance on the 2017 to 2018 ILR funding reports, generated when providers submit an individualised learner record file. This document combines both sets of previous report guidance for young people and adult programmes and covers:

  • 16 to 19 (excluding apprenticeships)
  • adult education budget
  • all apprenticeships
  • european social fund
  • standards recorded under the trailblazer pilot
  • advanced Learner Loans bursary

For further information, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0370 267 0001.

Earnings adjustment statement (EAS) 2017 to 2018: guidance published

EFSA have published guidance on the earnings adjustment statement (EAS) 2017 to 2018. This sets out how to use the EAS for the funding year 2017 to 2018 for the AEB, apprenticeships and the advanced learner loans bursary.

The EAS is an online form available on the Hub. Please complete this if you wish to claim funding not recorded on the individualised learner record (ILR), including excess learning support and learner support.

For further information or related queries, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0370 267 0001.

Financial assurance: monitoring the funding rules 2017 to 2018

EFSA have published the funding rules monitoring plan for the funding year 2017 to 2018. This covers AEB delivery, advanced learner loans, and all apprenticeships (frameworks and standards).

The plan includes the funding rules EFSA will monitor for each area and the new monitoring reports EFSA will publish on the Hub following the R03 ILR submission in 2017 to 2018.

EFSA have also published a letter from Dawn Ward, chair of their data and management information advisory group (DMIAG). The letter outlines the importance of providing correct data.

For further information, please contact your Business Operations provider manager.

2016 to 2017 final reconciliation statements

Following the 2016 to 2017 submission of final funding claims for grant funded Adult Education Budget, Learner Support, Advanced Learning Loans and Community Learning, your final reconciliation statements will be available via the Skills Funding Service by the end of November. Final payments/recoveries will be processed in January 2018.

Apprenticeship service updates

EFSA are always looking at ways to improve the service and encourage all providers to use the in-service feedback buttons, which you can find throughout the service.

EFSA have already made some enhancements to the service following existing feedback that EFSA have received. For example, employers and providers are now able to search for apprentices in their account by simply inputting an apprentice’s name. Training providers can also search by inputting an apprentice’s unique learner number (ULN).

Providers now also have the ability to opt in or out of email notifications. This can be done through the ‘Notification’ settings link which you can find on your homepage.

Please note if you do make any changes, this will not affect you receiving essential service updates, such as password reset emails.

Hub return

In R02 EFSA processed 4,424 files from 1,042 providers, over 500 providers submitted their first R02 file in the last 3 days of the collection window.

In R14 EFSA processed 4,937 files from 1,292 providers, over 550 providers submitted their first R14 file in the last 4 days of the collection window.

Individualised learner record (ILR): R03

The ILR R03 data collection for the 2017 to 2018 funding year is now open and will close at 6pm on 6 November. As always, EFSA recommend that you submit your data as early as possible and that you review your validation and funding reports that are made available to you on the hub.

If you need to submit an Earnings Adjustment Statement (EAS) and you do not have access to this on the Data Returns tab in the Hub, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0370 267 0001.

Known issues documents

EFSA publish known issues documents for Data Returns, Funding Information System (FIS) and the ILR Learner Entry Tool on GOV.UK.

These documents include details of all active and closed known issues for the systems, they provide details of any suggested actions and advise when the issues have been resolved.

An updated version of the 2017 to 2018 document is now available, this includes details about the resolved issues and new issues that have been opened.

If you identify any issues that are not included in these documents, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0370 267 0001.

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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