AELP Summary of Developments in 16-19 Vocational Provision
Over the last few weeks AELP officials have been in extensive contact with our EFA
counterparts on a number of different but very interrelated areas of 16-19 provision. These have
recently come to the fore in a flurry of developments that it would be wise to revisit to ensure
that members are aware of what is currently happening.
July has seen the publication of some highly important documents which are essential reading
for any provider involved in delivering 16-19 vocational provision. These came hot on the heels
of an excellent meeting between AELP officials (Chief Executive Graham Hoyle accompanied
by Paul Warner and Foundation Group Chair Ashley McCaul) and a team from the top echelons
of the EFA led by Chief Executive Peter Lauener and National Director for Young People Peter
Mucklow. Key areas of concern over the landscape of provision were fully discussed in a very
constructive and open fashion, and an important follow-up letter from Peter Mucklow to Graham
Hoyle confirming these can be found on our website here.
The new Study Programmes regime envisages 16-19 provision from September 2013 being
underpinned by - for those who need it - continuing progress towards English and Maths at
Level 2, the provision of high quality work experience, and the opportunity to follow a substantial
occupationally-relevant qualification. This will be backed by a funding system based on funding
the learner rather than the programme, integrating most ALS funding into the overall rate, and
streamlining other aspects of the technical funding formula.
All of this is irrevocably linked with the upcoming implementation of the Raising of the
Participation Age (RPA) from Sept 2013, plans for which were published by DFE around the
same time as the two documents above. This proposes a minimum hours figure of participation
for young people between 16 and 18, of 540 hours per annum. The coming contract year
(2012/13) should therefore certainly be used by the sector to begin to build and align capacity in
local authority areas with the need to ensure that all young people affected will be able to
access this amount of provision from September 2013, bearing in mind the new programmes of
study requirements. This may well mean that new provision is needed, and at the AELP/EFA
meeting substantial time was taken discussing how to free up market entry to allow this to
happen. EFA have now confirmed that alongside their existing proposals to allow new provision
to draw lagged funding via a "zero-funded" model, (see document here), a small pilot in 2012/13
will invite outstanding Apprenticeship providers to submit proposals for non-Apprenticeship
provision, a proposal that AELP welcomed as a small step in the right direction to a wider
opening of the market.
Of perhaps more immediate significance was the confirmation that EFA have accepted the
arguments we have been putting for some time now regarding the possibility of upward
reconciliation, in that they will now pay for growth for 2011/12 and 2012/13 for 16-18 learner
responsive funding to independent and charitable providers. This allows for growth over 103%
of contract maximum, subject to overall affordability, to be paid in the following January.
Even this however was topped off in our view by confirmation from EFA this week that 16-19
provision contracts are now - subject to the ring fencing of Apprenticeship budgets - completely
flexible to offer provision according to local need. This means there is no longer a discrete
Foundation Learning allocation, and providers have the ability to deliver according to the needs
of their area rather than according to the structures of programmes delineated in funding
contracts - in most respects, the "black box" that AELP has been proposing for some years now.
This is a very important development, and one that AELP very much welcomes after its many
years of lobbying on the issue.