From education to employment

16 to 19 education: independent learning providers


ESFA today (6 Feb) updated the information for independent learning providers (ILPs).

This page provides information for independent learning providers (ILPs) who receive Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) formula funding for the provision of 16 to 19 education. ESFA consult with Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) over the contents and design of this page.

ESFA directly fund colleges, providers, schools, academies and independent specialist providers for the provision of education and training to students aged 16 to 19 (or are aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan). Every year they review the procedures for prospective providers of education to be recognised and receive funding.

Funding allocations

ESFA use a national funding formula to calculate an allocation of funding to each institution, each academic year. The formula is driven by student recruitment and includes factors which reflect student retention, higher cost subjects, disadvantaged students and area costs. The 16 to 19: how it works page provides an overview of 16 to 19 funding and includes further information about each element within the 16 to 19 national funding formula.

You can find information about the allocations timeline or data sources used for student numbers and funding factors on GOV.UK. The 16 to 19 education: funding allocations page provides a detailed breakdown of the data we will use to calculate funding and when you can expect your funding allocation statement.

Funding guidance

All institutions that receive ESFA formula funding for the provision of 16 to 19 education must comply with our funding guidance.

The funding guidance includes funding regulations, rates and formula, individualised learner record (ILR) returns and reconciliation arrangements, sub-contracting controls and other supporting information.

Funding reconciliation and in-year growth

ILPs with an ESFA contract are subject to adjustments for under-performance and over-performance. We reconcile the institution’s outturn against the funding allocation.

You can find further information on funding reconciliation in the ILR Return guidance. This page includes information for the current year along with previous years.

We have produced a presentation explaining funding reconciliation, which you may find helpful.

High needs students

The latest information on the high-needs funding reforms for young people aged 16 to 25 is available on GOV.UK.

Financial support for students

You can find information about financial support for students that help young people participate in education and training, including the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, on GOV.UK.


Financial assurance and the post-16 audit code of practice

The post-16 audit code of practice (ACOP) describes the framework through which the ESFA ensure 16 to 19 education providers are accountable and have robust audit arrangements. It explains governance, audit and assurance responsibilities for a range of providers, including ILPs.

We have developed the ACOP jointly, with the consultation taking place through the Association of Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges Association.

Audit approach for 16 to 19 study programmes

We published the standard approach to undertaking funding audits for 16 to 19 study programmes. The audit approach applies directly to ILPs.


A traineeship runs for a maximum of 6 months and is designed to help young people who are focused on getting an apprenticeship or sustainable job, but who do not yet have the skills or experience to compete successfully for vacancies.

Further information about traineeships is available on GOV.UK.

Additional resources for ILPs

Market entry policy

You can find information about how to get ESFA funding for education and training for students aged 16 to 19 on GOV.UK.

Maths and English condition of funding

Information on maths and English condition of funding is available on GOV.UK and ILPs need to ensure they are compliant.

ESFA e-bulletins

We issue an e-bulletin every week. You can view our e-bulletins, including the latest edition on GOV.UK.

If you are a customer at a post-16 institution (excluding academies) you can manage your subscription through the My Contact Information feature on the Information Exchange.

All other subscribers can complete our online subscription form.

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