From education to employment

How NCFE is responding to SFA funding changes


As you’re all no doubt aware, this month the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) announced some significant changes to their funding rules (Approval of Qualifications for Public Funding for Adult Learners). These changes may result in the removal of public funding for a number of 19+ qualifications in 2014/15, including some NCFE qualifications.

We understand that you’ll be concerned about these changes and we want to let you know how NCFE is responding.

We’re adopting a number of approaches, looking at each affected qualification individually. There are several courses of action open to us. For some qualifications, we’ve chosen to appeal. In fact, we’ve already proactively put in an appeal for certain qualifications, where we feel that the loss of public funding will have a strong adverse effect on specific cohorts of learners. You can see the list of qualifications that we’ve appealed on our website and we should hear about the outcome at the end of this month.

We reached out to many of our customers to help us in our appeals, requesting letters of support for qualifications to help us provide evidence to the SFA. The letters helped us demonstrate the measurable impact of the removal of funding on learners.

In the case of other qualifications, we’ve taken this opportunity to re-evaluate them and we’ll be working closely with both employers and our key partners to ensure that these qualifications remain fit for purpose and meet the needs of learners and the labour market.

The great thing is that NCFE is agile enough to be flexible and adapt quickly to these changes to ensure that they affect our customers, as little as possible.

And it’s not all bad news! We have a number of new qualifications which do meet the new criteria which we’ll be submitting to the SFA for funding approval as soon as possible. And of course, there’s a large range of NCFE qualifications which remain unaffected by these changes such as our Apprenticeship qualifications and our units which are available for individual registration and certification.

Learners are at the heart of all we do and we continued to be committed to providing them with fundable, accessible qualifications which promote achievement, success and progression. We’ll be adopting a customer-centric approach when it comes to how we deal with these changes and will be keeping you informed every step of the way. Our main concern is that we are still able to offer a breadth of choice to our customers and their learners.

To stay up to date and informed of developments in this area please also visit our website at:

If you have any queries, you can get in touch with us on 0191 239 8002 or by emailing [email protected] – we’d be more than happy to help.

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the national awarding organisation

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