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ESFA Reveals Covid Financial Support Offer for 16-19 Private Training Providers

Private training providers whose recruitment of 16 to 19 students has been “limited” due to Covid-19 have been offered financial support to ease budget pressures.

From 22nd June 2020, independent learning providers (ILPs) can make a business case to the Education and Skills Funding Agency to prevent clawback of any underperformance they have experienced for this group of learners.

The ESFA said:

“ILPs may be recruiting fewer part-time students than they would normally recruit between March 2020 to July 2020.

“This will impact on the level of funding that these students would usually attract and will result in clawback of funds for 2019 to 2020.

“The ESFA will support ILPs whose recruitment of students, to a 16 to 19 study programme, have been limited due to the lockdown situation and who have faced clawback for under performance.”

For approved cases, the ESFA said it will base the expected delivery in March to July on the previous year’s delivery for students recruited between 1 March 2019 and 31 July 2019, taking up to half of this into account.

In addition, the agency will “add the actual delivery for students recruited between March 2020 and July 2020, up to a maximum of 100 per cent of the 2018 to 2019 funded delivery for March 2019 to July 2019”.

No clawback relief will be possible if the cash delivery in 2019 to 2020 exceeds the cash delivery in 2018 to 2019 for the period from 1 March to 31 July for each year.

The ESFA added that to further support ILPs, they are extending the clawback period to include January 2021 to March 2021.

“The clawback that is planned for July 2020 will be included into the re-profiling, from August 2020 to March 2021. This does not need to be requested and will be shown in the R10 reconciliation statement.

“There may be a small number of exceptions where a risk to ESFA and public funds is identified. In these instances, we cannot delay July 2020 clawback, but we will extend the clawback profile until March 2021.”

The ESFA made clear this funding support is a “one-off” in response to the unexpected disruption caused by the arrival of coronavirus and ILPs should “not expect this to be repeated in future”.

ILPs making a business should also “not seek” support from government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough staff whose salaries are paid from continuing ESFA or any other public income.

“ILPs submitting a business case must demonstrate they have not received support from the CJRS to furlough staff involved in the continued direct delivery of provision remotely of 16 to 19 study programmes and where possible recruitment of 16 to 19 students between March 2020 to July 2020,” the ESFA said.

“The Department for Education is considering appropriate measures to monitor use of claims from CJRS in order to detect any duplication of public funding and will be considering potential options to recover misused public funding as required.”

5 Ways to Demonstrate Your College’s Positive Intent and Impact
June 24, 2020
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The following article is by  Anthony Horne – Emsi’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific.

One of the most common areas of discussion I am having with senior management in the Further Education sector right now is that Anthony Horneof “demonstrating positive intent and impact”.

This is perhaps unsurprising, since Ofsted have recently included sections on Intent and Impact in their proposed new Education Inspection Framework.

But with the spotlight on these themes, it is perhaps an opportune time to look at whether we can measure the outcomes of Intent and Impact in a tangible way.

The answer is we can, but what is particularly interesting is how many different angles of measuring Intent and Impact are highlighted by college leaders.

For example, here’s a sample of some of the comments I’ve heard over recent weeks from college principals, about what they would like to be able to measure: Read more

Leeds Utd and Salford Uni Join Forces
May 18, 2020
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@LUFC and @SalfordUni join to create online course for aspiring football industry professionals

A unique course designed for professional football players and those working in the football industry has been launched to boost skills and knowledge.

Footballer kicking a ball

Delivered entirely online, BSc (Hons) Applied Football Studies is aimed at players and those in player facing roles, but could also be of interest to anyone who works or volunteers in football.

The three-year course, a partnership between The University of Salford Business School and Leeds Utd Football Club, with support from Ahead in Sport, combines learning in key areas of the football industry, including leadership, talent development and psychology, with practical business skills.

In particular the course will offer a route for academy players to develop skills and knowledge that could be of huge benefit to them if they do not make it in the professional game.

The course also examines contemporary issues such as the development of the women’s game, opportunities for BAME coaches and financial fair play, whilst it will also offer students the opportunity to examine the repercussions of the current pandemic and its impact on the football industry moving forward.

Taught online and created with full-time football players in mind, the programme recognises football as a significant business in its own right and examines the relationship that exists between sport and business. By following a blended learning approach, it allows those on the course to combine study with the demands of being involved in football such as training and games, which may have previously limited opportunities to access traditional HE routes.

Speaking about the new course, Angus Kinnear, Chief Executive of Leeds Utd Football Club said:

“This is an incredibly innovative course, that will create a bridge for people who want to realise their ambition to work in sport. It can be difficult for us to recruit people with the right skill set and this course will hopefully bridge that gap and provide people with the right skills to thrive.

“And it is a fact that, unfortunately, a lot of academy players won’t make it as professionals, but with this course we can help them grow skills and have the chance of developing a successful career afterwards.”

This is a practical course which builds on experiences as a player or in a player facing role. The aim is to develop strong skills relating to the business of football and provide opportunities for career progression into a wide range of roles across sports industries.

Programme leader from the University of Salford Business School, Nicola McCullough, said: “It has been great to work with Leeds Utd and Ahead in Sport on this course. They provide key knowledge, inside information and experience to ensure the course is providing exactly what the industry needs. 

“Working directly with industry providers is key to our mission at the University of Salford.

“We’re aiming to create the next generation of worldwide football leaders with the skills and the fact that the course is entirely online is perfect for the times we are in.”

Joel Roberts, Director of Operations at Ahead in Sport, said: “Through its on-line delivery this unique course offers the flexibility that full-time players and staff require, whilst the industry-led content reflects the number of opportunities available to those aspiring to be involved in the game, either on or off the pitch.” 

By University of Salford Manchester

Furloughed Employees in the Training Sector Have Their Say
May 4, 2020
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By GPRS Recruitment.

GPRS Recruitment

We’ve all been unable to escape the word ‘furlough’ over the past few weeks – a term many of us were not even familiar with before this crisis. Simply put, the government’s furlough scheme guarantees employees who have stopped working during the coronavirus pandemic 80% of their wage (with exceptions).

Fortunately, only 30% of candidates who responded to our survey said that they have been furloughed.

The Financial Times reported at the start of April that up to half of companies in the UK were furloughing their staff (https://www.ft.com/content/8e2…85-a9bf-78deeb94bc80), so the training sector appears to be more active than other industries, with most staff still working, albeit remotely.

53% of staff in the sector who have been furloughed agreed with the decision to furlough them, acknowledging that it would be impossible for them to perform their role remotely. In terms of training staff, there are of course some fields in which trainers are unable to deliver remotely, namely the more ‘hands on’ qualifications such as hairdressing and construction.

A further 14% of furloughed candidates, when asked if they felt it was necessary for them to be furloughed, selected ‘other’ and offered comments such as ‘learners [being] unavailable’ due to their own work being disrupted, ‘client demand lowered and there were many cancellations’, and delivering remotely being ‘impossible with a young child’. In addition to simply whether a qualification can be delivered remotely or not, there are a wealth of other factors that have been considered when the decision has been made to furlough or not.

Indeed, only one third of those that told us they have been furloughed described themselves as trainers, with the majority of furloughed employees identifying themselves as management or admin staff. With apprenticeships still continuing where possible, and apprentices still being able to continue with their qualification if they have been furloughed themselves, for most training staff there is still work available, and happily, for many training providers furlough is a last resort.

*The survey was conducted between 6th and 10th April 2020. The survey had 1,598 responses.*

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Financial Support for Education, Early Years and Children’s Social Care

Adult education and apprenticeship funded training providers “may be eligible for support” in line with the Cabinet Office’s supplier relief rules that allow payment in advance of delivery, the Department for Education has said.

In new guidance, the DfE wrote:

“Where a provider receives adult education budget (AEB), or apprenticeship funding, as part of a direct contract for services with ESFA, and is at risk financially, they may be eligible for support (subject to meeting additional criteria) as part of DfE’s response to the Cabinet Office’s Procurement Policy Note 02/20.

“Support provided through that mechanism would count as public funding for the purposes of conditions covering the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”

The DfE’s guidance states that “further guidance on the operation of any supplier relief scheme for providers funded under a contract for services with ESFA will be published when available”.

Providers “should email ESFA.PPN220Queries@education.gov.uk to register their interest in the scheme”.

Full Guidance Link

International: The best Australian Universities to Study Health Services and Support

A career in health services and support is a rewarding experience as it makes a big difference in people’s lives.

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Whether it’s a position as a dental assistant, anaesthetist or carer, there are plenty of job opportunities in health services, as it’s one of the fastest-growing industries.

The Good Universities Guide rankings look at Australian universities’ specific strengths, offering insight to support and guide decision-making when choosing a university. View the rankings in terms of how each university performs overall, or you can narrow down by field of study and state.

We looked at which universities with undergraduate health services and support degrees performed best in full time employment, teaching quality and graduate salary.

Full Time Employment

This rating compares the employment rates of graduates at different universities. It looks at the proportion of graduates who were employed full time four months after completing a course. UNSW Sydney ranked highest, achieving a full score of 100%, while University of Tasmania scored 87.10%. CQUniversity placed third in this rating with 84.50%.

Teaching Quality

This rating looks at the proportion of students who were satisfied with the quality of teaching they experienced. It’s based on students’ ratings of their overall educational experience and the quality of teaching they received. Australian National University ranked highest with 100%. Following closely behind, Bond University placed second with 97.60%.

Graduate Salary

This rating compares the median salary of graduates from different universities. University of Tasmania takes the top spot with their graduates earning a median salary of $82,000, while UNSW Sydney followed with $75,000.

View all 2020 rankings for nursing health services and support by The Good Universities Guide here — filter by level to view both undergraduate and postgraduate ratings.

Would Filling Careers Advice Gaps Make University Applications Fairer?
February 21, 2020
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The majority of students and recent graduates believe the university application process is fair, however, the support they receive making their career choices is a concern for many.

New Savanta ComRes polling for Universities UK (UUK) of almost 1,500 British adults who applied to university or college in the UK between 2015-2019 has found that seven in ten (70%) recent applicants think the current process is fair, although more than one in four recent applicants (28%) disagree that the application process works well in its current state.

Key findings

  • Almost two thirds of recent applicants (64%) agree that the application process works well in its current state.
  • Those who consider the application process to be unfair, most commonly say this is because the career advice they were given wasn’t very helpful (34%). The second most frequently given reason is that the application process is too long (29%) including 40% of applicants who are the first in their immediate family to apply to university (vs. 24% of those who are not).
  • Applicants report mixed feelings about whether their offers drive them to perform well academically. While four in five (82%) say their offers motivated them to work harder, half (55%) say they made them complacent in studying for exams. Those with contextual offers were more likely than those with conditional offers to say that their offers made them less stressed about the admissions process (78% contextual vs. 69% conditional) and more likely to be complacent in studying for exams (74% contextual vs. 55% conditional).
  • The vast majority of applicants (79%) feel very or fairly well supported by universities and colleges during the applications process.
  • Those receiving contextual offers are twice as likely to say they do not understand the different types of offers (27% vs 13% overall).
  • While almost two-thirds of applicants (64%) think it is fine to apply with predicted grades, one in three (29%) applicants described not having exam results before applying to university as a challenge. More than half of recent applicants (56%) feel universities and colleges should only make offers after people have received their academic results.
  • BAME applicants and those who were the first in their immediate family to apply to university are more likely to agree that offers should be made after receiving academic results (60% BAME applicants vs. 54% White applicants; 63% first in immediate family vs. 49% not first).

The findings are among those being used to inform a major review of university admissions, established by UUK in July 2019, involving UCAS, school, college, student and university representatives. It is examining the evidence and will recommend improvements to ensure the system works in students’ best interests.

The ‘Fair admissions review’ advisory group will also consider the value of applicants receiving offers after they have received their academic results.

Professor Julia Buckingham, President of UUK and Vice-Chancellor & President of Brunel University London, said:

“These findings will inform the recommendations of the ‘Fair admissions review’ advisory group on how the system can be made fairer and operate in the best interests of all applicants. The group is considering the impact of different types of offers on students and whether it would be beneficial for applicants if universities offered places after they have their grades.

“On the whole university admissions are seen as fair, but all students must have faith in the system and receive careers advice to help them make the best decisions about what and where to study. It is the job of universities, colleges, employers, schools and the government to work together to fill the gaps in good quality careers advice for applicants, and particularly to disadvantaged groups.

“We want to do more to accelerate progress on widening participation at university. The advisory group will make recommendations on the role of good careers advice, contextual offers, bursaries and other incentives in encouraging applications by students from underrepresented communities. These findings point to the need for universities to better explain and increase understanding of contextual offers and their impact on students.”

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive said:

‘Its welcome news that most students agree the current application process is fair, and that the clear majority of applicants felt supported when applying, particularly by UCAS.

‘Wider careers advice is an area that students feel they need more support with though, and we are playing an increasingly vital role as they make big decisions about their futures. This year we launched our new UCAS Hub, meaning that for the first time, all students will have access to online personalised information and advice to support them as they consider all their options. We’ve also just integrated key content from Which? University into the UCAS website providing students and their advisers with easy access to valued, independent advice.’

‘This year, we’re expecting some universities’ offer-making strategies to change, though we need to ensure that the admissions process remains fair and transparent for years to come. We are already exploring innovative reforms to the admissions process, including how changing when students receive offers could bring benefits.’

Savanta ComRes conducted interviews online with 1,499 adults aged 18+ who have applied to a UK university/college/other higher education institution between 2015-2019 and have been UK residents at the time of applying. Data was weighted by age, gender and region in order to be representative of all applicants between 2015-2019. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. An executive summary of the findings is attached to this email and full tables are available at 

Separately, a total of 181 higher education providers, schools, colleges, current students, recent graduates, parents, employers, representative groups and other bodies responded to UUK’s call for evidence, which is also informing the work of the ‘Fair admissions review’ advisory group.

The ‘Fair admissions review‘ advisory group is made up of UCAS, school, college, student, and university representatives. It is expected to publish its findings in spring 2020.

The review will be sensitive to the different contexts that higher education providers are operating in across different UK nations, and work to complement successful initiatives already underway in different parts of the UK.

Contextual offers – lower grade entry requirements – recognise the potential of students whose personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities and living in the most deprived areas, may have restricted their achievements at school or college.

The chair of the ‘Fair admissions review’ advisory group is Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor & President, Ulster University. 

Other members are: Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor, Durham University; Debra Gray, Principal, Grimsby Institute; Professor David Green CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Worcester; Caroline Hoddinott, Headteacher at Haybridge High School and Sixth Form; Tracey Lancaster, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources), Leeds Beckett University; Beth Linklater, Assistant Principal, Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke; Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of St Andrews; Clare Marchant, Chief Executive, UCAS; Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Bath; David Ruck, Head of Higher Education and Careers, Bristol Grammar School; Lee Sanders, Registrar and Secretary, University of Birmingham; Claire Sosienski Smith, Vice-President for Higher Education, National Union of Students; Professor Mary Stuart CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln; Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Canterbury Christ Church University; Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor, Aberystwyth University; Jo Wilson, Head of Sixth Form, The Pingle Academy, Derbyshire; Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor, Nottingham Trent University.

Two-Thirds of Universities and Colleges Have Seen Rise in Student Drop-Out Rates
January 9, 2020
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Two-thirds of UK universities and colleges have seen a rise in the proportion of students dropping out in recent years.

Data analysed by the Press Association found that in the period from 2011-12 to 2016-17, 100 higher education institutions (67 per cent) saw an increase in the proportion of students dropping out.

Forty-six institutions (31 per cent) saw a fall in dropout rates, while the figure was unchanged at four universities and colleges.

The largest proportional increase was seen at the University of Abertay, Dundee, which had an 8.6 percentage point rise from 3.5 per cent in 2011-12, to 12.1 per cent in 2016-17.

‘Challenging barriers’

A spokesman for the university said it recognised “there is a need to improve student retention”.

In England, Bedfordshire University had the biggest increase, at 6.9 percentage points, rising from 8.3 per cent in 2011-12 to 15.2 per cent in 2016-17.

A spokeswoman said: “As a widening participation university our students can face challenging barriers to success.

She said many Bedfordshire students are “balancing the responsibilities of family and work with studying for a degree”, and “unable to turn to the bank of ‘mum and dad’”.

‘Up their game’

The analysis was based on data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency for 150 universities and colleges, and covers UK, full-time undergraduate students who were no longer in higher education the year after they started their course.

It comes at a time when student welfare is in the spotlight, with universities facing increased scrutiny over the support they give students and the value for money of their degrees.

In September the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, wrote to universities demanding they “up their game” by cutting drop out rates.

Image result for Chris Skidmore, the universities minister

Responding to the latest figures, Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said: “I want to see each university and indeed courses held individually accountable for how many students are successfully obtaining a degree, so that we can be transparent and open about where there are real problems.”

‘Flourishing’ students

“Many universities are doing excellent work to support students, but it’s essential that dropout rates are reduced. We cannot afford to see this level of wasted talent,” he added.

A spokesman for Universities UK said: “Universities are committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring students from all backgrounds can succeed and progress.”

“This includes supporting students to achieve the best outcomes in not only getting into university, but flourishing while they are there.”

In October i reported that some universities are keeping electronic tabs on their students’ movements and using algorithms to identify those students most at risk of quitting.

The Conservative Government’s Plans for FE
December 16, 2019
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The Tories are to stay in power for another five years – so what will that mean for further education? By Kate Parker

General election: what do the Tories have planned for FE?
A £3bn ‘national skills fund’

The Tories pledged to invest £600 million a year into the fund, which it insists is “new funding on top of existing skills funding”. It expects this would be for a range of courses, including apprenticeships. 

In the manifesto, it says: “And our new £3 billion National Skills Fund, alongside other major investment in skills and training and our reforms to high-skilled immigration, will ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need.”

£1.8bn for college buildings

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced in November that the Conservative Party plans to invest £1.8 billion in a further education college rebuilding programme.

Mr Johnson said that the money would, over a five-year period, be used to make sure the entire FE college estate is in “good” – or category B  – condition by refurbishing and redeveloping existing facilities and purchasing industry-standard equipment. 

The manifesto says: “Just as universities have been transformed by significant long-term investment over the last few decades, we need to make sure local colleges are equally excellent places for people to learn. We are therefore investing almost £2 billion to upgrade the entire further education college estate.” 

It also states that, as well as encouraging investment in physical building and equipment, they will help employers invest in skills and look at how to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy.

The Augar review

The manifesto says that the Augar review made “thoughtful recommendations on tuition fee levels, the balance of funding between universities, further education and apprenticeships and adult learning” – and pledged to “consider them carefully”. 

Adult education 

On adult education – which featured heavily in both Labour and Lib Dems’ plans – the Conservative party pledged to “invest in local adult education and require the Office for Students to look at universities’ success in increasing access across all ages, not just young people entering full-time undergraduate degrees.” 

Prison service 

Although it’s not mentioned in the manifesto, the Conservatives did also announce plans to create a dedicated Prison Education Service focused on work-based training and skills in November. 

The policy is part of a programme of prison reform that the party says would “give better chances to offenders once they have been released, double the number of prisoners in employment six weeks after release and reduce reoffending”.

Under a Conservative government, the new Prison Education Service would oversee education and skills training across all jails. It would build upon the new prison education framework issued in April 2019 and “provide a new focus across the whole system on raising educational standards of all prisoners serving sentences in England and Wales”.

Kate Parker
Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a junior FE reporterTwitter: @KateeParker

Students With Unconditional Offers More Likely to Drop Out
November 5, 2019
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The analysis, published by the Office for Students (OfS), shows that the dropout rate was 10 per cent higher for students who accepted unconditional offers than would have been expected if they had accepted conditional offers.

Across the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, this equated to almost two hundred students dropping out who would otherwise have been expected to continue.

This increase explicitly discounts other factors about those students that are associated with dropout rates, including what subject they study and where, and demographic characteristics.

If this pattern persists while rates of unconditional offer making continue to rise, the analysis shows that over 200 students per year could drop out who would otherwise have been expected to continue.

Nicola Dandridge,
chief executive of the OfS

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said:

We already know that students who receive an unconditional offer are more likely to miss their predicted grades at school. It is a cause of real concern that they are also more likely to drop out of university once they get there.

Dropout rates are overall low in England, so this is a small effect. But we are not talking about one or two students. This is a couple of hundred students per year who have made a significant investment of time and money in a degree from which they are unlikely to benefit.

We have always been clear that some unconditional offers are necessary and in a student’s interests. But many of them are not. Although it is up to universities to decide who to admit and how, they must take responsibility for the impact of those decisions, and provide the right support for all students to be successful – especially if the offer they receive makes them less likely to do well at school.

As our regulatory framework sets out, admissions systems must be reliable, fair and inclusive. What we are seeing here are admissions systems that are not fair, and are not working in students’ best interests.’

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

Universities scrabbling to attract students with unconditional offers are too often focused on the bottom line rather than student interests. These latest figures show that many students are ill-served by the current admissions system, and that there is a real need for urgent reform.

A move to post-qualification admissions, where students receive offers after they their results, would be much fairer to students. It would eradicate the problems associated with unconditional offers, end the gamble of predicted grades and bring the whole of the UK into line with the rest of the world when it comes to university admissions.

The population included in this analysis is 18 year olds in England at universities, colleges and other higher education providers on the OfS Register. 

The non-continuation rate shows the proportion of students who don’t continue from their first to second year, either at the same university or by transferring to another. Our analysis suggests that this rate is 0.65 percentage points higher – or 10 per cent proportionally higher – for students who accept an unconditional offer. In calculating this increase, we have compared students who received conditional and unconditional offers based on their predicted grades and other factors. This means that the impact of receiving an unconditional offer on the grades students actually attain is likely to explain much of the effect on continuation rates.