The date when the restriction requiring providers to have grade one or two Ofsted ratings to run traineeships will be lifted has been moved forward from August to the start of next month.
The announcement was made in the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) Update bulletin published on its website this afternoon.
Currently, only outstanding and good providers can deliver the programme, introduced in 2013, although they can subcontract to grade three (‘requires improvement’) and non-inspected providers.
But the government announced on December 7 that its grade one and two (outstanding and good, respectively) restriction was being removed from August, which had been repeatedly called for by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.
Today’s notice, however, stated that the SFA “will bring this rule change forward to February 1, as detailed in the Funding Rules 2015 to 2016 Version 2 Addendum 3.
“All other 2015 to 2016 funding rules continue to apply. If you have an existing funding allocation and the appropriate contractual arrangements, you will be able to deliver traineeships ahead of the 2016 to 2017 funding year,” it added.
It is hoped the move will help to produce an improvement on last academic year’s 19,400 starts.
The lifting of the restriction was revealed in two documents, published before Christmas — English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision, and an attachment to Skills Minister Nick Boles’s letter to college governors this month, entitled Implementing the FE and skills reform programme BIS/DfE brief on progress for FE governors and leaders.
They both stated: “When we introduced traineeships we required that providers are graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in order to ensure quality from the outset, but said we would keep this under review as the programme develops.
“Now that traineeships are fully established and getting excellent results for young people, from 2016/17 we will place them on a par with other provision by removing this requirement.”
Thinking about delivering Traineeships? Check out Nick Linford’s practical funding workshops taking place in February. Click here for more info