Nobody could have predicted that the ESFA would accidently award non-levy apprenticeship funding to a company that went bust months ago.

Although the DfE is tight-lipped and presumably red-faced, there must surely be an independent investigation into how this slipped through the due diligence process.

Conversely, that some high-quality colleges and training providers will see their funding stop from January is nonsensical.

The ESFA will no doubt say its bid evaluation team simply scored the applications on the basis of the 10,000 words they included.

That the result is a fail for grade one Exeter College and others like it is most likely because a small part of the submission they had written wasn’t deemed to answer the question well enough.

But as a result, over 98 per cent of employers, those not paying the levy, can’t continue to work with these colleges and providers.

There will always be winners and losers in any competition, but as our investigation has laid bare, a recount shouldn’t be ruled out.