The Education and Skills Funding Agency has dug itself a huge hole. Incredibly, it’s still digging.
As readers will know, it was in the interest of “stability” that it decided to pause the non-levy tender, after demand from over 1,000 providers well outstripped the paltry £440 million that was available.
Instead it is extending pre-May contracts until December, which left some relieved and others – those without direct access to any funding – disappointed.
But the sense of relief and pretence of stability hasn’t lasted long, as the value of the contract extension appears well below expectation, in some cases by as much as 70 per cent.
The ESFA told providers this week how it arrived at these allocation figures, but still refuses to answer key questions about how much was dished out overall.
It has also refused to tell FE Week or providers how global firms have ended up wrongly classified as non-levy, so we’ve had to figure out for ourselves how the ‘mistake’ occurred.
While it’s clearly unfortunate the data isn’t accurate and that there isn’t more funding for small employers, why refuse to fully explain how much and in what way it’s been allocated?
Starving providers of funding is bad, but also keeping them in the dark is appalling.