Information about exceptional in-year growth funding for 2020 to 2021.
Subject to affordability, each year we review the early data returns from institutions delivering 16 to 19 education (including up to 24 for those with high needs), and award in-year growth to those with exceptional increases in numbers.
This process does not apply to Independent Learning Providers for whom there is a separate reconciliation process. The primary way in which we account for increases in student numbers is through lagged funding. In-year growth funding is exceptional and is intended only for those with significant recruitment above their allocation, to provide a contribution to the additional in-year costs.
This process is purely data driven; we do not accept business cases.
We make growth awards on the assumption that the in-year data used is materially accurate. If later data returns show that the in-year data returns are inaccurate, we will recover some or all of the in-year growth award.
Each year, we revisit the method used for awarding growth and the thresholds at which individual institutions become eligible for a growth award, with the key considerations being the levels of growth in the sector and affordability. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have amended the method for calculating growth awards for this year. Compared to the method used in 2019 to 2020, institutions with very significant growth will receive the same growth award, but those with more modest growth will now receive some growth funding where previously they would not have been eligible.
This does not set a precedent for the method used or thresholds in place in future years. Each year is assessed independently with thresholds and marginal rates dependent on levels of over-delivery and affordability.
The calculation of growth awards this year (2020 to 2021) is a 4-step process:
- Calculate over-delivery (in numbers of students)
- From the over-delivery, calculate growth
- Adjust for previous under-delivery
- Apply a growth award minimum
The method we use to calculate student number over-delivery to feed into the growth calculation is dependent on the institution type.
For colleges and higher education institutions submitting the individualised learner record, over-delivery is the lower of:
- (2020 to 2021 R04 students multiplied by 2019 to 2020 R04:R14 ratio) less 2020 to 2021 allocated students
- 2020 to 2021 R04 students less 2019 to 2020 R04 students
For schools and academies submitting the school census:
- 2020 to 2021 autumn census students less 2020 to 2021 allocated students
For local authorities:
- 2020 to 2021 R04 students less 2019 to 2020 R04 students
There are 2 thresholds in the growth calculation and we fund over-delivery at different marginal rates for the over-delivery above each threshold. The 2 thresholds are:
- lower threshold – 7.5% of the 2020 to 2021 allocated student number, with a minimum of 25 students and a maximum of 100 students
- upper threshold – 15% of the 2020 to 2021 allocated student number with a minimum of 50 students and a maximum of 200 students
We do not fund over-delivery below the lower threshold. We fund the over-delivery between the lower and upper thresholds at 100% of the average funding per student. We fund the over-delivery above the upper threshold at 50% of the average funding per student.
We only fund the over-delivery that is above the particular threshold at the marginal rate, as shown in the example below.
An institution with an allocation of 2,000 students would have a lower threshold of 100 students and an upper threshold of 200 students. If the over-delivery is 250 students, we calculate the growth as follows:
- over-delivery below the lower threshold – not funded
- over-delivery between the lower and upper thresholds – funded at 100%, i.e. 100 students
- over-delivery above the upper threshold – funded at 50%, i.e. 25 students
Growth funding for this institution would be a total of 125 students.
We make a deduction for any under-delivery in 2019 to 2020 before finalising the growth award. If there was under-delivery in 2019 to 2020, we deduct half of this figure from the growth award.
Minimum growth award
After we have deducted half of the under-delivery from the previous year, if the remainder is less than 10 students, we do not make a growth award.
Free meals and bursary allocations
Both bursary and free meals in further education allocations are linked to the allocated student number and so an increased student number allocation resulting from this process may also result in increased bursary and free meals allocations.
In addition, we are releasing additional bursary funding outside the main growth process where analysis of the data suggested that an increased student number could put an institution’s bursary allocation under considerable pressure.
We are also releasing additional free meals in further education funding to ensure that institutions have sufficient funding to support the students they recorded as eligible for, and in receipt of free meals, in their in-year data return.
However, the transitional arrangements for bursary funding continue to apply. This means that bursary allocations that were capped at 25% above their 2019 to 2020 bursary baseline level at the start of the in-year growth process do not receive any additional bursary funding. Institutions whose bursary allocation was uplifted to 75% of their 2019 to 2020 bursary baseline are potentially in scope for additional bursary funding. However, we will deduct the amount of uplift we applied previously from any additional bursary funding that we have calculated through the in-year growth process. This could mean that they do not receive any additional bursary funding through this process, and that their bursary allocation will remain at 75% of their 2019 to 2020 bursary baseline.
Specialist post-16 institutions (SPIs)
For the calculation of programme funding increases under the national 16 to 19 funding formula (Element 1 growth), the general principles outlined above are the same. However, we calculate over-delivery as:
- 2020 to 2021 R04 students less 2020 to 2021 allocated students
The thresholds are:
- lower threshold – 7.5% of the 2020 to 2021 allocated student number, with a minimum of 5 students
- upper threshold – 15% of the 2020 to 2021 allocated student number with a minimum of 10 students
We deduct half of the under-delivery in 2019 to 2020 as outlined above, but there is no minimum growth award.
For the calculation of increases in funding for places occupied by students with high needs (Element 2 growth), we calculate over-delivery the same as for Element 1, but there is just a single threshold of the higher of 15% of the allocated Element 2 places and 10 Element 2 places. If over-delivery exceeds the threshold, we fund all over-delivery at the full annual rate of £6,000 per place, with no deduction for previous under-delivery. We also use this methodology for a small number of colleges which have their exceptional in-year growth calculated by us, the ESFA, rather than through discussion with, and direct payment by, the location of their local authority.
An In-year growth calculator (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 37.3KB) is available which will allow you to input your institution’s figures and will calculate the potential growth award. There is a separate tab for SPIs and centrally funded exceptions (Element 2 only).
In most cases, growth payments will start to be received from March 2021 and will be profiled across the remainder of the current academic year.
Growth for 2021 to 2022
We have not yet made a decision on in-year growth for 2021 to 2022 and institutions should not assume that the 2020 to 2021 rules above will be continued next year.
Published 3 February 2021 Contents