ESFA weekly round-up - Issue 372

Education & Skills Funding Agency's weekly round-up of business-critical information to ESFA-funded colleges, other training organisations and direct grant employers. (20 Sept 2017)

Apprenticeship non-levy growth requests

You are now able to submit requests for increases to your 16 to 18 and adult non-levy contract value for the period May 2017 to December 2017.

Please send completed growth request forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 5pm on Friday, 29 September.

For further information or related queries, please contact your provider manager.

Apprenticeship data match errors

To ensure timely payments, it’s important that you work with your employers to ensure information in the ILR and the apprenticeship service is accurate and up to date before submitting your ILR data on the 4th working day of the month.

This is particularly important to prevent apprenticeship data match errors, caused when there is a no corresponding record or a mismatch of data against an apprentice’s record held on the apprenticeship service and the training providers ILR return.

ESFA are continuing to see large numbers of training providers submitting their first and final ILR on the last day of the ILR submission period and this does not allow any time to correct data lock errors with the employers you are working with.

The apprenticeship service provides an apprenticeship data match report when you submit an ILR and you should use this to identify any errors which require further action.

If you or your employer has issues regarding apprenticeship data match errors contact the helpdesk on 08000 150 600 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

R14 hard close

It’s critical that you make any amendments to your 2016 to 2017 ILR data before the ILR hard close on the Thursday, 19 October. After this date you will not be able to fix any issues from your 2016 to 2017 ILR return and will not receive payment for this activity.

After this deadline you will be unable to:

  • create and approve a new apprentice record with a start date within the 2016 to 2017 academic year
  • create and approve a replacement record for any incorrect record that has been stopped and backdated
  • make changes (such as the agreed costs) to any existing records to take effect prior to the 31 July 2017

For more information please refer to the apprenticeship technical funding guide and the ILR guides and templates for 2016 to 2017.

Updated apprenticeship funding and performance-management rules

ESFA have now published an updated version of the apprenticeship funding and performance-management rules that apply to apprenticeship starts from 1 May 2017 to 31 March 2019. A draft of the performance-management rules was published as part of the competition for the current non-levy apprenticeship procurement. These have now been integrated within the existing funding rules document; the funding rules have not changed. For 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, this document remains draft and ESFA reserve the right to make changes to these rules in line with government policy.

The 2016 to 2017 funding rules still apply to learners that started before 1 May 2017 but the performance-management rules for carry in learners are now included in the 2017 to 2019 rules.

For further information, please visit the funding rules page on GOV.UK.

Qualification achievement rate changes for 2016 to 2017

ESFA have published the high level changes to the qualification achievement rates (QAR) for the 2016 to 2017 funding year (1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017). ESFA will shortly publish the updated QAR dataset production specification documents for 2016 to 2017 which will incorporate these changes.

You should read this document alongside the business rules ESFA published in November 2016.

If you have any questions please contact the service desk.

Minimum standards 2016 to 2017: apprenticeships, AEB, ALL

ESFA have published a document explaining how ESFA will apply minimum standards for 2016 to 2017 to all age apprenticeships and to adult (19+) education and training provision funded through the Adult Education Budget and/or through Advanced Learner Loans.

If you have any queries, please contact the service desk.

Using the apprenticeship service as a training provider


ESFA have published information for apprenticeship training providers on using the apprenticeship service. It explains how to register on the apprenticeship service so you can add and approve apprentices for funding.

It’s important that the apprentices added to the apprenticeship service account match the details you have on the Individualised Learner Record. This will be checked as part of your month end submission.

ESFA have also published information for employers on the key things they need to consider when using the apprenticeship service.

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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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.

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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.


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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