This consultation is open from Tuesday 25 August until Tuesday 6 October at midnight.

Foreword from CEO

headshot of jennifer couplandAs you may be aware, earlier this year, the Institute consulted on how we recommend a funding band for apprenticeship standards – the maximum government funding contribution. This consultation launched on Monday 24 February and closed on Monday 18 May. The consultation set out a proposed core model and sought views on two options for addressing differences in the costs of teaching and consumables.

We were really pleased to receive over 200 responses to that consultation and today we are publishing a summary of the feedback. 

The feedback received indicated that the approach we set out was simpler to understand than the current system and achieved the core design principle of increasing transparency. There were, however, many responses which highlighted factors which influence variation in the cost of delivering apprenticeships which they thought could be better addressed in the approach.

We have listened to that feedback and explored ways in which additional variation can be achieved in our approach, without negatively impacting the transparency of the model.

We are today, launching a second consultation on a refined model which addresses many of those points raised during the first consultation. The consultation will run for six weeks, closing at midnight on Tuesday 6 October.

You can find details of the proposed model and how to support its further refinement and to respond to the consultation questions. We have also updated the impact assessment.

In order to build in options for greater variation, the model is more detailed than those options consulted on earlier in the year, so we have created an additional tool to support understanding:

As with the first consultation, we will be holding a series of virtual events to further support interested parties in engaging with the model and the consultation. You can register for one of our virtual events on Eventbrite.

I also just wanted to address two points made during the first consultation directly. Several respondents suggested that our goal in introducing a new way of recommending funding bands is merely to reduce funding levels. I want to take this opportunity to say this is not the purpose or focus of this work.

We are rightly committed to recommending levels of funding for apprenticeships that offer value for money for employers and for taxpayers. This means setting the funding band (the government’s maximum funding contribution) at an appropriate level for each apprenticeship, but it also means funding at a level that allows delivery of high-quality training and assessment. We also strongly believe that this should be done in a transparent manner as possible.

The second point is about the data underpinning the model, which is the costs of delivering apprenticeship standards report. It is a core principle of the approach to use independent evidence to set funding bands and this research provides us with a basis for this information. We recognise that the apprenticeship market continues to evolve so it is important we continue to build and develop our evidence base to remain a relevant and representative source of data. We are developing plans to ensure this happens, but for now, the report gives us an informative, independent evidence base from which to draw on in support of our new model.  

Subject to the outcome of this second consultation, we plan to run a pilot and we will keep under review the most appropriate time to do so. We will provide reasonable notice ahead of beginning the pilot. We are also looking to further test the impact of our model. If you would like to help us with this work, please contact the team at institute-funding.consultation@education.gov.uk

Thank you for your input so far in helping to develop a new, more transparent approach to recommending funding bands. I’m confident that with your support and input we’ll develop a funding system that works better for all.