Revealed: The 8 colleges in DfE’s funding simplification pilot

Government hopes the trial will help decide how to roll out wider changes to funding rules

Government hopes the trial will help decide how to roll out wider changes to funding rules

27 Mar 2024, 17:14

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Eight colleges have been named as participants in a Department for Education (DfE) pilot aiming to simplify funding, audit and reporting rules.

From 2024/25 the colleges will be given more flexibility over funding rules and some ringfenced budgets across adult and 16 to 19 provision.

They will also be allowed to deliver skills bootcamps without the need to bid for funding through procurements.

The pilot will be used to judge how wider changes can be made to the way colleges are funded and audited.

However, details of how rules will be simplified for participants are yet to be confirmed.

The eight colleges are spread across the south, midlands and north of England.

•             Basingstoke College of Technology, Hampshire

•             The Bedford College Group, Bedfordshire

•             Bridgwater and Taunton College, Somerset

•             Exeter College, Devon

•             Loughborough College, Leicestershire

•             Middlesbrough College, Middlesbrough

•             Sunderland College, Tyne and Wear

•             TEC Partnership, North East Lincolnshire

The launch of the pilot comes as part of the DfE’s wider reforms which aim to simplify FE funding and accountability – including a merger of several adult skills budgets into the single adult skills fund in 2024/25.

In an appeal for volunteer colleges in January, the DfE said the pilot will help it deliver adult skills funding “and improve predictability”.

It will also “capitalise on the reduced funding rules and ringfences to simplify how we audit and assure FE funding as well as simplify back-end data processing”.

The DfE added that it will develop options with a view to test several simplifications for apprenticeships, which could “include simplifying onboarding, testing new funding approaches and streamlining end point assessment processes”.

A separate apprenticeship expert provider project that aims to reduce time and resources helping small employers through the system.

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