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We have had a number of apprenticeship providers request information pertaining to ESFA audit requirements on the evidence that is accepted for use where apprentices have ‘undiagnosed’ LDDs (learning difficulty or disability) or where apprentices do not have an LDD, but require additional support in order to meet the learning requirements of the apprenticeship. According to Mencap ‘Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time and may be overcome with treatment, which is not true of learning disability’.

Due to the ESFA Funding Rules, learning support is typically used to support apprentices with diagnosed learning difficulties or disabilities such as dyslexia, autism etc. and providers do not think the eligibility requirements for an undiagnosed LDD or mental health need allows them to support apprentices with the specific learning support needs to ensure effective learning and completion of the apprenticeship.

A number of providers have discussed that the lack of clarity from the ESFA, audit challenge and the processes underpinning learning support is off-putting to ensure learners are treated in a fair way to complete their learning. There is a clear lack of clarity in the eligibility criteria, coupled with the complexity of evidencing for audit is stopping providers delivering learning support to apprentices that require learning support.

With this in-mind, according to the Mental Health Foundation:

  • 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.1
    • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.2 
    • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem3, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
    • One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

There is a lack of clarity in terms of evidence and identification to support apprentices with an undiagnosed LDD or mental health condition, the providers that we have spoken that do not utilise additional learning support for apprentices with an undiagnosed LDD or mental health condition is because they do not know what evidence would be acceptable to the ESFA, and if the ESFA Funding Rules will allow to support a learner that needs specific support.

We would like to see the ESFA be clearer in their rules, evidence, and audit requirements, specifically for learners who need additional learning support and have an undiagnosed LDD or mental health condition. This will support learners with needs that affect their learning and can ensure a fairer approach to learners requiring additional support.

A research report commissioned by the DfE and carried out by the Learning and Work Institute in 2018 (Exploring the funding and support for apprentices with additional support needs) highlights the issues that providers are finding, and where many providers have spoken with us. Within this report it suggests appropriate examples where the ESFA would clarify the funding rules to allow for additional learning support where apprentices have an ‘undiagnosed’ LDDs or where apprentices do not have an LDD, but require additional support in order to meet the learning requirements of the apprenticeship (anxiety etc). The report suggests:

  • What evidence and supporting information is required: Including what forms of evidence are acceptable if there is an auditing requirement and examples of the level of detail required. 
  • Who is eligible: Clearly establishing the types of support needs the funding is aimed at and any specific restrictions on eligibility. 
  • What can the funding be used for: Outlining what specific types of support or resources can different funding types be used for and what is not allowed.

We would like the ESFA to go further and open up additional learning support to allow for inclusivity of learning and apprenticeship completion, and define where learning support needs can cater for apprentices who do not have an LDD, but require additional support in order to meet the learning requirements of the apprenticeship, as per the Mental Health Foundation findings, which will have a direct result on learners learning and being successful.

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Further Education News

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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