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EFA funding in 2017-18 - business as usual

19 June 2019

EFA's funding letter was published on Wednesday 21 December. Key points are as follows: No additional savings planned in addition to the formula protection removal and the £15 million saving on student support. Last year's letter mentioned a £160 million savings target from the 2015 Spending Review but this no longer seems to be required. The fall in the number of enrolled students means that DfE may be making savings already from this source. Additional funds have been put into the high needs system by DfE (£130 million. There is a small change in the allocation system for bursary and free meals. EFA will use 2015-16 year end data not 2016-17 in-year data because the former is considered more reliable. Note that colleges that repeatedly spend less than their free meal allocation will be under pressure to return funds. EFA will make adjustments to 2017-18 allocations away from a simple count of 2016-17 numbers (away from 'lagged student numbers') in several circumstances including end of sub-contracting in circumstances yet to be specified. Continuing students aged 19 and over in FE colleges will be funded via EFA (as happens with sixth form colleges). There will be a new approach used for calculating Block 2 disadvantage funding (based on 2015-16 ILR data rather than older Young People’s Matched Administrative Database (YPMAD). Funding for Block 2 disadvantage in future will be based on those who do not reach Grade 4 in the new GCSEs. If results improve at GCSE in the way that ministers sort of want, this implies less funding through this route in future. The allocation process will involve a single communication in February rather than two communications in January and March, but with allocation toolkit plus funding factors made available in January for those wanting to plan budgets. AoC along with other national associations consulted on this change and gave assent. Longer term changes may be made to EFA funding as a result of the government's industrial strategy and technical education plans. There may be more information on this in the spring 2017 budget. Areas under investigation are ways to support high quality technical education routes and the removal of obstacles of more young people taking post-16 maths. Ministers and officials also continue to look at the operation of the GCSE condition of funding.