The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove has launched a consultation to reform and simplify the ‘16-19 funding formula’, for implemtation in 2013/14.

The announcement, published by the Department for Education (DfE) last Thursday, states: “Proposals in the consultation include moving away from the current complex system of funding on the basis of ‘payment per qualification’ to introduce a much simpler system of funding at the level of the learner.

“Such a change is essential if we are to make a reality of the proposals in Professor Alison Wolf’s groundbreaking report on vocational education.

“It also supports the Government’s aims of reducing bureaucracy for education providers and making the funding system simpler, more transparent and readily understood by all.

“Responses to the consultation are sought from 16-19 education and training providers in general and specialist further education colleges, sixth form colleges, maintained schools and Academy sixth forms as well as commercial and charitable providers, and Apprenticeship providers.”

FE Week understands that the consultation launch was originally planned for May 2011 but the DfE delayed implementation so it could also consider the reform of 5-16 year-old funding.

The current formula was implemented in 2008/09 by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in an effort to simplify funding.

John Bolt, former  national technical lead for funding at the LSC said: “I am pleased that the DfE and Young People’s Learning Agency have now published the latest consultation.  It was expected earlier this year, and will apply from 2013/14 and not a year earlier as was previously thought.

As ever, it is difficult to strike the right balance between simplicity, fairness and new Government policy, which is reflected within the numerous options within the report.  There seems to be a move towards funding 16-18 learners in a similar way to pre-16 learners, which may simplify things for school sixth forms but less so for colleges.”

The closing date for responses is Wednesday 4 January 2012.

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