There is a sad inevitability to the repeated delays to the unrealistic timetable for apprenticeship reforms.

So much of the provisional detail is contested, and with a new minister in post grappling with plans, the situation won’t improve any time soon.

As I wrote in a recent blog for NCFE, we haven’t given ourselves a chance to predict how the new system will work.

The limited pilot is failing because there were so few available standards to start apprentices on and even fewer approved assessment organisations.

So far just 15 apprentices, all with one firm, have completed a new standard.

The employer response to the new payroll tax is another unknown quantity, as it wasn’t part of the pilot.

And we don’t know what impact putting employers in charge of ‘negotiating’ apprenticeship funding rates will have either. Then there are the plans to simplify funding rates which we have exposed for unfairly hitting younger apprentices, particularly in poorer areas.

The DfE claims it won’t budge and the levy will launch on the April 6 with the funding reforms shortly after on May 1.

Few can be in any doubt now that the levy will happen, but from where I’m sitting its looks a safe bet that Robert Halfon is considering a contingency plan for the funding reform.