Another ESFA delay after 16-19 tuition fund applications put back to autumn

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The window for colleges to opt into the second year of the 16 to 19 tuition fund has been delayed.

A message from the Education and Skills Funding Agency was issued this afternoon stating that the process for 2021/22 will not start until after colleges return in September.

The original plan was to allow colleges to opt-in from this month until September.

The delay was blamed on “complications with the digital development of the opt in process to provide a more user-friendly experience.

“We will provide details of the policy approach and how the opt in process will work in advance of the autumn term opening,” the message promised.

 

Comes after delays to AEB, bootcamp and traineeship tenders

A £96 million tuition fund was announced last July for 2020/21, after colleges were originally excluded from the government’s catch-up plans.

The money was earmarked to be spent on small tuition groups of around three to five students to study English, maths and other courses where learning has been disrupted.

Colleges told FE Week in November they had spent it on hiring extra study and pastoral staff, as well as beefing up mental health support for students.

The government revealed in June it had set aside £222 million to extend the programme for another year, with an expectation it would deliver 700,000 courses a year, with a special focus on English and maths.

The application process delay comes after the results of tendering for the national adult education budget were delayed twice from an original release date of last month.

The ESFA had to resort to telling providers yesterday it “hoped” to provide an update at the end of this week.

Results for the ESFA’s skills bootcamps and traineeships tender were also delayed earlier this year.



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  1. Of course it would be naive to assume any delays on the part of ESFA means that providers have an extended timeframe to deliver in. The usual outcome, if you’re lucky enough to get a contract, is that you have less time to deliver it and that includes the Capital Transformation programme (if or when ESFA decide to announce outcomes on that).