The Education Funding Agency (EFA) have confirmed that the Department for Education (DfE) published an ‘error’ in the new 16-19 formula.

The EFA said: “The diagram of the formula is not completely accurate and should include brackets – but the diagram is only intended to be for illustrative purposes, rather than the final specification for the funding methodology. The error has already been noted, and will be amended in future releases of the document and other information.”

The formula, without the required brackets, was published in the DfE’s Funding full participation and study programmes for young people report, and can be seen below:




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  1. Of course the diagram, being an illustration, is for illustrative purposes. It is intended to illustrate the effects of the new formula. Only it doesn’t, it shows a completely different formula.

    I don’t see the point of putting it in there without the brackets. Without the brackets the formula means something completely different. I thought the purpose of the document was to give us some understanding of the new funding system, yet I still don’t know where the brackets go and so I can’t evaluate the new regime.

    They might as well have said, ‘Hey guys! We’re introducing a new funding formula. This isn’t it but here’s a pretty picture to keep you from asking too many questions.’

  2. I recall a programming teacher from my time at university (when we were still grappling with the wheel), sagely advise included “if in doubt, don’t leave them out” when discussing the use of brackets in formula and conditional statements (in programming).

    Seems that the EFA have missed the wonders of this sage.

    Now … my question is, “is this like spot the ball, where you have to guess where these brackets belong to win the prize”.

  3. Paul Hanks

    The Disadvantage Funding must therefore be a sum of money consisting of two parts which is added to the product of the first 4 boxes.
    This sub total’s then multiplied by the Area Cost allowance
    Block 1 a sliding sum based on IMD ranking of learner (not as previously a deprivation multiplication factor on the rest of the formula.
    All Learners from same LSOA generate the same Block 1 Disadvantage funding value to providers, irrespective of other factors in the funding formula