This week we expose the ESFA’s top secret four-level grading system that gets applied to every one of just over 1,000 post-16 providers that they fund.

We learned that funding agency staff use what’s called a ‘profile and assessment tool’ to assign every prime provider one of four ‘intervention status categories’.

On the face of it this seems a well-structured and proportionate approach to intervention, given the ESFA’s responsibilities.

But what’s surprising – and concerning – is that over half (55%) of the providers that it contracts with are of concern, typically based on their finances.

This might be something the Education Select Committee, Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office will show an interest in.

And it’s disappointing that the DfE has refused to explain the basis on which a provider is given a grade or any detail on what they are used for.

The AoC and AELP are united in their expectation the agency should come clean.

It is now a case of watching this space…

UPDATE: It has been brought to our attention that there were inaccuracies in the full PAT list previously published, which FE Week downloaded from the DFE website. Whilst we investigate we have removed the link to this data. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. The data was sent to the DfE in advance of publishing for their reference. 

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