From education to employment

Detailed guide: High value courses for school and college leavers: a one-year offer for 18 and 19-year-olds


@ESFAgov – Additional funding for one-year to encourage and support delivery of selected level 2 and 3 qualifications in specific subjects and sector in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).


On 8 July the Chancellor announced exceptional funding as part of the wider COVID-19 skills recovery response to support 18 and 19-year-old young people leaving school or college this summer. This short note provides more information on the policy intent and key information on the proposed funding arrangements.

Policy intent – one-year offer for 18 and 19-year-olds

The government is committed to supporting school and college leavers into work and enabling them to gain the skills they need to get jobs. Young people’s employment prospects are expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus and if a young person is not employed, in education or training (NEET), it is rarely temporary.

We are prioritising getting young people into work, an apprenticeship or traineeship. Where these are not available, we will support the sector to offer courses of up to one year duration in high value subjects to prevent young people from becoming NEET. Providers will need to demonstrate how courses through this offer support employment outcomes, and evidence of need for skills in their local area.

Devolution of the adult education budget

Following devolution of the AEB to Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCA) and the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is only responsible for administering the AEB in non-devolved areas. The Department for Education will transfer the additional AEB to MCAs/GLA in line with the published methodology for agreeing the apportionment of AEB between the ESFA and the MCAs/GLA.

Key information

The one-year offer will enable 18 and 19-year-olds leaving education and training who are unable to find employment or work-based training, opportunities to be fully funded to undertake specific level 2 and level 3 qualifications that have been identified as relevant to higher wage returns and economic growth opportunities. We have published the list of qualifications included in the high value courses for school and college leavers skills offer and the criteria for selecting courses.

  • The one-year offer will include:

    • a £400 uplift per learner to cover the costs of putting on additional courses at short notice, recruiting extra students, and preparing staffing and facilities

    • adjustments to retention payments (16 to 19 funding) and job outcome payments (ESFA AEB) to compensate where learners leave early and take up employment or an apprenticeship

    • increased rate to fund 18-year-olds on larger programmes at the rate for 16 and 17-year-olds

  • ESFA will administer the additional funding via 16 to 19 funding and ESFA AEB to support delivery from 1 September 2020:

For 18-year-olds

We will determine the number of additional students from your R04 data return and the autumn census compared to delivery in the previous year and make a programme payment in-year (subject to affordability). We will amend 2020 to 2021 allocations accordingly and reprofile across the rest of the year. As these students will be recorded in the lagged student numbers, the programme funding element paid in-year will be offset against future funding. The £400 uplift will not be offset. The 16 to 19 year-old Bursary Fund allocations will be adjusted where appropriate to reflect the extra 18-year-olds.

We will retain some funding for enrolments later in the year. Providers will receive the uplift for students enrolled after November 2020 in the 2021 to 2022 academic year, and the programme funding in the 2022 to 2023 academic year. The intention is to maximise in-year payments based on the available budget.

For 19-year-olds

We will allocate the additional ESFA AEB before the end of August 2020. We will distribute funding using a consistent calculation taking into account delivery in 2018 to 2019, historic delivery of the qualifications in scope, affordability and track record requirements in the published performance management rules. The additional funding will be ringfenced within your ESFA AEB and be performance managed separately.

Learners will be fully funded to undertake a qualification from the agreed list including those who already hold a level 2 and level 3 qualification. For those wishing to undertake a subsequent level 3 this means they will not be required to take out an advanced learner loan.

Further information:

We aim to publish further information by the end of July 2020:

  • further information on this page about funding and payments for both 16 to 19 and AEB
  • version 2 of the ESFA AEB funding and performance management rules 2020 to 2021
  • version 2 of the AEB funding rates and formula 2020 to 2021

Published 16 July 2020 Contents

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