After a challenging year for Colleges and providers, as everyone is now aware the ESFA announced that the Adult Education Budget threshold for colleges has been lowered to 90% rather than the normal threshold of at least 97% of their allocation. The reduction to 68% last year, owing to the impact of Covid-19, led to the expectation for many that a similar threshold might have been set for the current academic year however this was not the case (source FE Week).

Easter is rapidly coming upon us with many staff already on their knees and needing a well deserved break, after what has been an exhausting 12 months for everyone in the sector. For many the thought of having to find the learners and arrange the delivery to reach this threshold creates even more pressure. 4 months left and a mountain to climb is what we are hearing from across the sector.

 Every college and provider is likely to be a different position – maybe with the staff to deliver but can’t reach the learners, or learners that can’t or won’t come to a physical location, or a desire to deliver online but without the resources to support, or just not having the capacity needed to deliver the volume of learning required.

The Skills Network work with hundreds of colleges and providers and offer a range of services to support in AEB delivery (as well as support for full time learners, traineeships, apprenticeships and corporate learning). Conversations over the past week have varied significantly depending on the individual circumstances faced.

Yes, we have the capacity to add to our sub-contracted provision, and that is an option, but time is running out to get learners through a programme so decisions need to be made quickly. For some an alternative might be a contract with The Skills Network that crosses over two funding years starting enough learners this year to reach that magical 90% and completing them the following financial year during the summer months. Our success rates are consistently over 90% with amazing learner and employer feedback with a growing number of colleges and providers returning each year as TSN become a core part of their quality offer.

But for many colleges, including those that subcontract, there are a range of services that we can provide to assist in their own delivery and support their own staff in delivering high quality online learning.

Here’s what we can do…

We are able to offer you a tailored package of products and services that are right for your organisation with unlimited advice throughout. Over the past year we have found ourselves in the fortunate position of having the resource, and more importantly the experience of 8 years of online delivery, to deliver ourselves and support others. Many of the challenges our partners have had to face, TSN has had to work through, often painfully, but with the benefit of time to resolve issues and refine the model, and of course not dealing with a pandemic and having to flip the model overnight.

So, what can TSN offer to you?

  • Learner Management System

EQUAL is a cloud-based, award-winning learning platform that enhances online learning delivery and training management. EQUAL brings together course management features, engaging online experiences and streamlined administration tools to help you achieve your online or blended learning needs. Your learners can access self-paced learning anywhere and at any time, and faculty staff are able to effortlessly track and manage their journeys. There are numerous ways your organisation can benefit from EQUAL, whether it is creating your own training programme, utilising our readily available nationally recognised and accredited qualifications, or implementing the tracking and reporting system as well as a powerful diagnostic tool and other functions. We have put a lot of effort into assuring that learners that use our system have a great experience, and that the evidence is their when Ofsted come a knocking with the Education Inspection Framework under their arm.

  • Learning Resources

The Skills Network provides high quality learning resources, both paper based and online, in a wide range of subject areas to support the delivery of a range of qualifications. Designed in-house by industry experts, our learning resources are currently being used by over 200 Colleges, numerous private training providers and corporate organisations to assist with the delivery of learning, via our award-winning online learning platform EQUAL.

  • CPD Short Courses

We have 50 CPD Certified courses available to upskill and enhance your learner’s knowledge.

  • Tutor Services

Although many colleges have a strong workforce ready to support their learners, some may feel that they need extra support in their delivery. Especially for new programmes such as Warehousing, where the expertise might not be immediately available. We pride ourselves on our innovative delivery model which includes learner support, quality tutor feedback and personal choice of learning method.

  • Subcontracting Services

We ensure that our learner find in strategic and in line with your organisations aims. If you have a delivery team ready to go and just need us to find learners, we can tailor your package cater for this. Our unique learner find technology means your hardworking staff can focus on that high quality delivery.

Mark Dawe, CEO at The Skills Network:

“Since the announcement, we have been talking to many of our College partners in very open conversations and we completely understand the challenge many of them face reaching even the reduced threshold of 90% just set by the ESFA, given the year we have been through so far. At The Skills Network we work with hundreds of providers and colleges providing learning resources and other services to assist in the online delivery of AEB and other learning and skills, as well as a range of sub-contracting of delivery to students in their local area. As much as this will be a distressing time for some providers, we are here to offer reassurance that we can provide a trusted solution to your funding queries.”

We can provide help and support on how to maximise your budget in efforts to make up that remaining allocation in the final weeks. We are a trusted provider with a unique offer. If you need help or advice on how to support the delivery of your AEB funding or any other aspect of online learning please contact us:


Telephone: 01757 210522

Facebook: The Skills Network

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