16-19 Funding

The 16-19 landscape

Funding for learners aged 16-19 has been prioritised by the Government as a route to ensuring that young people are given the skills and training necessary to prepare them for entering the workforce. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) is responsible for allocating funding and learner support budgets for learners aged 16-19, and for learners aged 19-25 with learning difficulties or disabilities.

16-19 Funding allocations

Colleges, providers, schools and academies receive annual funding allocations from the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Funding is calculated using a funding formula that incorporates factors including student numbers, student retention, higher cost subjects, disadvantaged students and area costs. This is supplemented by additional funding for high needs students, bursaries and other financial support awarded to individual students and, currently, transitional protection and Formula Protection Funding to take into account changes from previous funding arrangements.

The main themes of the 16-19 funding formula are:

  • funding follows the learner rather than funding per qualification
  • learners are considered as full time if studying  at least 540 hours per year
  • learners are funded at a maximum of 600 hours per learner per year
  • there are four bands determining funding for part time learners
  • 18 year old full time learners are classified as part time band 4
  • learners take either an academic programme or a substantial vocational qualification
  • learners who don’t have GCSE grade C in English and Maths at 16 must continue to study these subjects. This is a condition of funding
  • Student number statements are sent out to institutions in January each year. These are a provisional allocation of student numbers for the next academic year and the funding factors which will apply in calculating the allocation. This is an opportunity for institutions to check and comment on the figures and raise any queries.

    Information on understanding the process and how funding is calculated can be found on the 16 to 19 funding guidance page of the Gov.uk website. Confirmation of the funding rates, funding formula and funding regulations for learners aged 16-19, alongside guidance for learners and providers, is available on the Gov.uk website

    English and maths condition of funding for 2015/16

    For the academic year starting August 2015, all full time students starting their study programme that have a grade D GCSE or equivalent in maths and/or English must be enrolled on a GCSE or approved IGCSE qualification in maths and/or English, rather than an approved stepping stone qualification. Full time students are those on a study programme of at least 540 planned hours if age 16 to 17 or at least 450 hours if age 18.

    The Gov.uk​ website has been updated with further information and clarification around the funding condition, both in the current academic year and going forward. 

    Qualification databases

    Information for publically funded provision in England for learners aged 16-19 can be found on the Learning Aim Search (LAS) facility.

    The list of qualifications approved by the Secretary of State for teaching to students under the age of 19 years in maintained schools and colleges can be found on the Section 96 website​. Each qualification is approved in accordance with its suitability for students based on their age.

    Funding for 18 year olds

    In late 2013 the Education Funding Agency announced a 17.5% cut in funding for full time 18 year old learners, to come into force for the 2014/15 academic year. This continues to apply to all elements of the funding formula except the flat rates for disadvantaged students without GCSE grade C or above in English or maths; however, learners with a learning difficulty assessment or a statement of special educational needs will not be affected by this change. The rationale for this cut is that most 18 year olds do not require as much non-qualification provision within their study programmes because they have already benefited from two years of post-16 education. 

    16 to 19 Performance Tables: Tech Level and Applied General qualifications 

    The list of tech level qualifications and applied general qualifications​ to be taught from 2014 which have been approved for inclusion in the 2016/17 Performance Tables are available on the Department for Education website. Tech Levels are level 3 qualifications for learners wishing to specialise in a technical occupation, whereas Applied General qualifications, also at level 3, provide broad study within a vocational area. Tech levels and applied general qualifications count as ‘substantial qualifications’ in 16-19 study programmes and as such will be funded using the same methodology; however due to their size, they would not be appropriate to undertake as part of a funded Traineeship.