Big changes afoot for funding of post-19 learning
By Tim Ward, TSNLA member on SFA Advisory Board
If you are a Skills Funding Agency (SFA) contract holder you will have recently received a 10-page letter giving an overview of changes in the administration and funding for post 19 non-apprenticeship funding. An additional letter has also gone out to Community Learning providers. We have posted copies of these documents on the TSNLA website for those of you who won't be receiving them directly. They can be found at:
2016/2017 marks the start of transition towards devolution of the new Adult Education Budget (AEB) to localities. Full-blooded devolution will start in 2018 but not all areas will be ready for this so we will have a system for a number of years with some areas having full devolution of responsibility for funding with others having influence but not control. The new Combined Authorities such as in Manchester and Sheffield will be in the lead and fully ready for 2018.
The role of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) is more ambiguous that we might have expected a few years ago. It seems less likely that LEPS will have direct control of budgets and more likely that local authorities will have that responsibility, with LEPS being significant stakeholders or influencers.
So, from 2018 some providers will find that the funding and commissioning for AEB will be direct with a local commissioner while others will be contracted centrally, albeit with some influence from local stakeholders however that is configured.
Increased differentiation between grant and contract holders
Most third sector providers have been classified as contract holders alongside private sector providers for some time. Colleges and local authorities have a grant funding relationship with SFA. This has been an issue for the third sector in terms of its impact on funding and contract risk but up until now it has had limited impact on delivery. However, it is clear that there is an increasing differentiation between grant and contract holders. Under AEB, grant holders will have more flexibility in terms of deploying funds within AEB than will be the case for contract holders. This development seems part of a wider policy interest in colleges in particular, which has also led to Area Reviews focussing on college provision. This is an area the TSNLA will keep an eye on and would welcome members' views.
Contracts to be re-procured in 2017
There will be a re-procurement exercise for contract-based provision in 2017 for 17/18 onwards. The SFA has argued this is a legal requirement under procurement law. However, this is a radical change in practice as in the past contracts have been renewed as a matter of routine unless there has been a specific reason not to do so. There are no details at the moment as to how this will be done and it is not clear whether this development will support 'business as usual' or be more disruptive. TSNLA and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) have sought assurances that there will be some discussion and consultation about the design of the process and we have been assured this will be the case. We will of course remain vigilant on this issue and keep members updated.
However, we have been told that input from local LEPs and local authorities will be important in the procurement so now is the time to raise the profile of what you do with local stakeholders like LEPs and local authorities.
Local flexibility vs national entitlements
One area of potential confusion relates to the increased flexibility offered in the new AEB. Providers will be able to offer any qualification that is on the revised qualification framework or offer non-accredited learning. While welcome, it does seem that this flexibility will only apply to provision below Level 2.
National entitlements will remain but the range of qualifications eligible might be narrowed. The term entitlement is explained in terms of the learner not having to pay a fee. There is no guarantee of a place being available. At the moment it is suggested that providers will not be scrutinised in terms of what proportion of their curriculum delivers the national entitlement.
Community Education in the new arrangements
For 2016/17 providers currently receiving community education budgets will be able to continue to deliver community learning within their current level of funding outside of the ILR-based formula funding that will apply to other AEB learning. All providers will also be able to deliver Community Learning type courses using AEB funding. For example, this means that very short engagement programmes can be funded.
Existing Community Learning providers can use AEB in this way. However, it is in their interest to use up Community Learning funding first as unused funding will have to be returned to the SFA.
We will keep you updated as all these matters progress. We'd like to hear from you if you have any comments, questions or issues. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW BURSARY SCHEME FOR CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - October 2015
The TSNLA CPD Needs in the Third Sector report identified that on the whole small providers are not able to access CPD opportunities - very often not knowing what is available and even when aware not able to fund it.
With support from the Education and Training Foundation the TSNLA is operating a CPD bursary scheme to enable staff in the third sector to access appropriate CPD opportunities.
If you or your staff need to go on a course but don't have the funds to pay for it or don't have the travel costs then this scheme is for you.The funding pot is limited so we will be keeping the application process as simple as possible.
What can be funded?
Delegates' fees for CPD delivered by the Education and Training Foundation can be funded.
Travel costs may be funded for courses which are delivered by the Education and Training Foundation or its owner organisations: Association of Colleges, Association of Education and Learning Providers, HOLEX - no others can be supported through this scheme.
If you attend a course provided by the Foundation you can apply for both delegates costs (actual costs paid) and travel - if you attend a course provided by AoC, AELP or HOLEX you can only apply for the travel costs.
How much is on offer and for what?
Up to a total of £350 per individual is available. The application process is set out below. This means that around 30 bursaries are available - more if people apply for less than £350.
Membership of TSNLA
To take advantage of this bursary applicants' organisations must be members of the TSNLA. This can be as subscriber members (free) or as investor members (from £50 depending on turnover for learning and skills). Go to our Membership section for details.
The application must be completed using the Word document provided - and returned to email@example.com - do call if you have any queries on 01943 510657.The form is accessible below.
Gadgets & Gizmos Resources & Feedback
We have run two very successful events focussing on supporting learning and digital inclusion through the use of smartphone apps, the Virtual learning Environment (Moodle) and looking at free resources via JISC.
Key inputs were provided by ELATT (linked to the Knowledge Transfer project by the Education and Training Foundation), London Learning Consortium and JISC - to whom thanks.Online resources from JISC
The events as perceived by delegates
The summary evaluation from the Gadgets and Gizmos events is attached - as well as the ELATT presentation 'ESOL with mobiles'.
I'd like to pick out a few headlines from the evaluations and other feedback we have received:
'I loved the mobile session - very engaging, innovative and learner focussed.'
'Very valuable session - our Moodle development is at its early stages so very timely information.'
'Thank you for organising this event. It was really useful and I came away feeling really inspired.'
At least 90% of delegates went away knowing more about using apps to support learning, about the uses of a Virtual learning Environment and about how to access free digital resources.
In telling us about how using these approaches would make a difference to your learners it was very clear that there is a strong theme around digital inclusion - with leaners with dyslexia, learning difficulties, with low literacy etc. where you would be able to make learning more accessible in a range of ways.
How many learners!
We have been very surprised by the aggregate number of learners delegates are working with - over 100,000 and this is not including the delegate whose organisation works with around 35,000 - indirectly.
Further support from the TSNLA
A range of suggestions were offered focussed on digital learning and other content areas - we will be exploring how we might be able to resound to these.
Policy issues to take up with government
As you might expect these were numerous. Again, we will be examining these to see how we can raise issues which relate to digital inclusion and resourcing the third sector to this end.
Resources for you and your learners!
We are now able to share the slides from the two fantastic events held in Derby and London. We will also share a summary of the evaluations in the near future.
Using apps in ESOL learning: presentation by ELATT:
The Virtual learning Environment: attached from London learning Consortium
This is the link to the online version:
This next link is to the LLC Moodle section, located on our website:
This will give you a better idea of what LLC do with regards to the multi-tenancy, you can view the presentation and they can also access our VLE demo page to get a feel for what Moodle can look like.
Foraging for Technology: presentation by JISC accessible via:
Education and Training Foundation - professional Standards
Teachers and trainers are reflective and enquiring practitioners who think critically about their own educational assumptions, values and practice in the context of a changing contemporary and educational world. They draw on relevant research as part of evidence-based practice. They act with honesty and integrity to maintain high standards of ethics and professional behaviour in support of learners and their expectations.
The 2014 Professional Standards:
set out clear expectations of effective practice in education and training;
enable teachers and trainers to identify areas for their own professional development;
support initial teacher education; and,
provide a national reference point that organisations can use to support the development of their staff.
What's in the standards?
As a professional teacher or trainer you should demonstrate commitment to the following in your professional practice.
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