ESFA weekly round-up - Issue 378

Education & Skills Funding Agency's weekly round-up of business-critical information to ESFA-funded colleges, other training organisations and direct grant employers. (1 Nov 2017)

ILR submission and payments requirements

Please ensure your individualised learner records (ILRs) are submitted as early as possible in the returns window and apprentice data is only submitted when it’s been matched and agreed with your employer (to prevent validation errors).

Submitting your ILRs early ensures ESFA can deal with your queries within their service level agreement period of 5 days before the claims window closes. Validation errors (which become apparent at month end) could impact on any expected payments.

Providers continue to submit their ILRs on the last day of the data submission period, or submit multiple files within the return window. As previously advised in Update, if providers continue to make late or multiple file submissions, ESFA may need to consider bringing forward the monthly ILR deadlines.

For help on ILR submissions contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. ESFA have also published information about how to submit an ILR data return, to help you when submitting your data.

Non-levy procurement: requests for further information

ESFA are currently in the process of validating tender submissions received as part of the procurement exercise for training provision to non-levy paying employers as set out in the Invitation To Tender.

ESFA would like to remind providers who submitted an application, to regularly check the Bravo system for any messages relating to their tender. ESFA may request further information through Bravo which providers will need to send them within a certain timeframe.

Flexible Learning Fund Open for bids

The Department for Education have launched the Flexible Learning Fund. The £10 million Fund is part of Government’s commitment to explore new approaches to lifelong learning for adults. The Fund is open from now until midnight on 31 January 2018 for applications for grant funding to develop and test flexible approaches to learning for adults. Grant support will be available until the end of March 2019.

Project proposals from providers of education and training with an Adult Education Budget allocation and/or Advanced Learner Loans facility agreement are actively encouraged.

Full details of the Fund, including how to apply, can be found at Flexible Learning Fund.

ESFA Learner Satisfaction Survey 2017 to 2018

Ensure your learners have their say in the ESFA Learner Satisfaction Survey, which runs from 30 October 2017 to 4 May 2018.

As requested in the letters ESFA have sent, please let them know through the Provider Extranet, that you can access the survey and who in your organisation ESFA can speak to about the survey.

 Business Update - Issue 27

Apprenticeship service update and feedback

Since the launch of the apprenticeship service thousands of employers have successfully used it to plan and support their apprenticeship programmes.

If you are a levy-paying employer, you can set up an account to manage your apprentices, choose a training provider and then make payments to them for the training they deliver.

We’re always looking at ways to improve the service so we encourage all employers to use the in-service feedback buttons, which you can find throughout the service. We have already delivered enhancements to the service from feedback we have received. For example, employers and providers are now able to search for apprentices in their account simply by inputting an apprentice’s name. Providers are also able to do a search by using an apprentice’s unique learner number.

Feedback from non-levy paying employers

If you’re not a levy-paying employer, you won’t be able to register for an apprenticeship service account until April 2019 but you can use other parts of the service on GOV.UK to help you plan your apprenticeship programme right now. All employers can use the service to estimate how much an apprenticeship may cost and to find the right apprenticeship training and training provider to deliver it.

We would like to gather views from employers that do not pay the levy, in particular, we want to find out about your needs for apprenticeship training and what services you would like to see in an online apprenticeship service. If you are an employer who doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, please let us have your views by completing our short survey.

Register of apprenticeship training providers: deadline for applications extended

The register of apprenticeship training providers opened for applications on 25 September and was due to close on 27 October 2017. We have extended the deadline by a short period and the register will now close for applications at 5pm on Friday, 3 November 2017.

This will be the final time the register opens before we review the register to ensure that it continues to offer employers confidence that those listed can deliver the highest quality apprenticeship training. We have extended the deadline to ensure that all new providers that want to join have an opportunity to do so.

If you have already made an application to this third opening, your application will be unaffected by this extension, you can still review and make any changes up until the new closing date. If you are already listed on the apprenticeship register you do not need to take any action.

Oyster card for apprentices

Apprentices aged 18, or over, living in a London borough and in the first year of an approved apprenticeship may be eligible for an Apprentice Oyster photocard – offering up to 30% off adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets.

More information can be found on the Transport for London website.

National Apprenticeship Awards 2017 – regional winners announced

Winners in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017 regional heats were announced at six ceremonies held during October. In the next stage of the process, national finalists will be announced in early December, before national winners are announced at a ceremony in London on 18th January.

Find out about winners in your region by visiting GOV.UK.

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – date announced

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 will take place from 5 to 9 March 2018. Themes for the week will be announced in due course. Please follow @Apprenticeships on Twitter; National Apprenticeship Service on LinkedIn and visit GOV.UK for announcements being made.

Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network

The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, chaired by Helen Grant MP, champions apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers and encourages more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, to consider apprenticeships.

The network is looking to grow the number of its member. If you are interested in joining, find out more on GOV.UK.

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

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.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

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:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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