Providers no longer penalised for learners finding jobs

FE providers will no longer be penalised for learners on benefits leaving a course because they have obtained a job.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, (BIS) announced that when working out Qualification Success Rate calculations, they would no longer include those who leave their learning early to enter employment, therefore not achieving a qualification.

BIS said they didn’t want to “dis-incentivise” providers by counting, as a fail, those learners who withdrew from study without achievement because they got a job. The move was welcomed by education watchdog Ofsted.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: “We are supportive of the recognition that measuring only qualification success offers a disincentive to providers that can result in opportunities for employment being missed.”

But they added: “However, if any learner leaves a qualification without a completion, this information must be recorded.  Inspectors will continue to consider changes in circumstance and the consequential outcomes data very carefully, as this will inevitably form the basis of discussions during an inspection.”

“More generally, when judging outcomes for learners, Ofsted already takes into account a very wide range of performance information. This includes success rate data, progress, destinations, in-year performance data, self-assessment reports, previous inspection findings, observations of teaching, training and assessment and the views of staff, learners and employers,” the spokesperson added.

A BIS announcement said they recognised  a learner on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (Work-Related Activity Group) benefits had three objectives: to achieve their stated learning aim, to get a job, and to stop claiming benefits.

The announcement read: “The current Qualification Success Rate calculation relates to qualifications and does not measure, as a success, those learners who leave their learning early to enter employment and therefore do not achieve their qualification.”

“We do not want to dis-incentivise providers by counting, as a fail, those learners who withdraw from study without achievement because they get a job before they complete their training.

“Therefore, we will exclude from the 2012/13 Qualification Success Rate learners who receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (Work related Activity Group) benefits if they withdraw from study because they get a job which results in a job outcome payment.

“In line with the standard business rules of the success rate methodology, we will continue to treat as failures all other instances of non-achievement and we will include all instances of qualification success.”

BIS said they were currently reviewing other aspects of 2012/13 Success Rate Calculations for Learners in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance in the Work-related Activity Group.

“We will be making some changes and intend to notify the sector about these in early 2013,” added a BIS spokesperson.