Dear Robert, the apprenticeship allocation will cut our funding by over 80%

Colleges and training providers were sent a funding allocation on April 25, for apprenticeship starts from May to 31 December 2017 for non-levy employers. In response, the finance director of Ofsted outstanding apprenticeship provider Crackerjack has written to minister Robert Halfon to question their contract allocation, which he says equates to a funding cut between 80 and 90%.

Attention Robert Halfon

Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

Dear Robert

I wrote to you on 21/04/2017 outlining my concerns with respect of the lack of progress on apprenticeship standards for the childcare sector. I look forward to receiving your reply to the questions I have asked.

Unfortunately I have the urgent need to contact you again regarding a far more serious issue, the announcement from Keith Smith (ESFA) on 25 April regarding contract extensions for ROATP providers due to the government pause in the ITT for non-levy paying organisations (98% of employers in the UK).

We received our allocation statement from Keith Smith, ESFA, via the Hub.

I wish to advise you that the allocation given to our organisation is derisory and in no way reflects our delivery record to date for 2016/17.

All our employers are small- to medium-size childcare nurseries and are all non-levy payers normally less than 20 employees. We therefore have no access whatsoever in our sector to large levy-paying employers and therefore no access to funding for apprenticeship starts from 1 May 2017.


Our apprenticeship contract 16/17 allocation (12 months) is:

16-18     £630,937              (for comparison, over 8 months this equates to £420,624)

19-23     £312,501              (for comparison, over 8 months this equates to £208,334)


However: Our apprenticeship contract 17/18 allocation issued by Keith Smith (8 months) is only:

16-18     £79,466                 (only 18.89% of our 16/17 eight month pro-rata allocation above)

This is an 81% cut in funding

19-23     £22,770                 (only 10.93% of our 16/17 eight month pro-rata allocation above)

This is an 89% cut in funding


We are an outstanding apprenticeship provider with success rates of 93% for 16-18 apprenticeships and 96.6% for 19-23 apprenticeships (30% above the national average), just the kind of provider the IFA need to deliver the high quality apprenticeships that the government is calling for.

Could you please investigate this allocation matter urgently as there is obviously something wrong with the way our allocation has been calculated.

I have also raised this matter with our constituency MP in Birmingham, Shabana Mahmood, Mark Dawe AELP and Nick Linford FE Week.

Our managing director will also be contacting Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector, Ofsted to raise this issue. I will also be contacting Peter Lauener and Anthony Jenkins of the IFA.

I would appreciate your help and support in resolving this issue as soon as possible


Chris Baker

Finance Director, Crackerjack Training

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  1. We NHTA Ltd, a leading hairdressing apprenticeship training provider and OFSTED OUTSTANDING provider are in an almost identical position as Crackerjack Training with funding cuts for non levy of 81% for 16-18 and 86% for 19+. This represents an ADDITIONAL allocation THROUGH TO JULY 2017 ( 4 MONTHS ) OF A GRAND STAGGERING TOTAL OF £9311.00.

    WHAT DO WE DO ???
    David Moreland
    Chairman NHTA Ltd

  2. This is an interesting letter, but i think it fails to recognise that the allocation is for new starts only from 1 May onwards. Its my understanding that the extension to existing contracts applies over and above the carry over funding that providers will receive for starts up to 30th April. The funding cap for childcare apprenticeships is £2,500 – taking into account the achievement payment, and delivering the programme over a 12 month period (recommended duration is 18-24 months for a person with no prior experience) this allocation would fund approximately 10 starts a month for every month in the 8 month period – far more than that if the programmes are longer. And if learners start in December, there will have to be a further carry over arrangement in place to continue to fund those learners. In light of this, would it not be better to present this argument in terms of the number of starts the allocation will fund? Does the provider intend to start more than 10 apprentices every month? If so, the difference between funded starts and potential funded start is the number of individual people that the allocation is directly disadvantaging.