1. Information: helpline launched to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education
The Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
- phone: 0800 046 8687
- email: [email protected]
The opening hours are 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday).
The latest guidance for education settings is available on GOV.UK.
2. Action: 2019 to 2020 Advanced Learner Loans performance management point 3
The first time request form for Advanced Learner Loans is now available on GOV.UK.
Completed request forms must be sent to [email protected] before 5pm on Monday 16 March 2020.
For further information, please refer to the Advanced Learner Loans funding rules 2019 to 2020.
3. Information: adult education budget (AEB) devolution update – Sheffield City Region
Subject to Sheffield City Region being ready and the statutory test being met, they will take on devolved AEB responsibilities from the academic year 2021 to 2022. We will continue to work to support the authority in their preparations.
4. Information: access to the ESFA developer hub
We are in the process of reviewing all of our online resources and migrating legacy websites with the former sfa.bis.gov.uk Universal Resource Locators (URL) address over to the new education.gov.uk address. A number of URLs have already been successfully updated.
Importantly two URLs that are scheduled for migration shortly may require users to take action, these are the:
- ESFA developer hub – (https://developers.apprenticeships.sfa.bis.gov.uk): this is a portal where developers can register an account to access and test our application programme interfaces (API);
- application interface (https://apis.apprenticeships.sfa.bis.gov.uk)
On Friday, 6 March 2020 we will be migrating the ESFA developer hub from its current URL onto the new URL: https://developers.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk. To continue to access your account on the developer hub, you will need to use the new address.
We will shortly also begin working on the migration the application interface. To ensure there is no interruption to your systems you will need update applications you have created with the application interface, with the new URL when it becomes available.
If you have any queries then contact the:
- Help desk: 0370 2670 001
- National Contact Centre: 08000 150 600
5. Information: apprenticeships training provider contract extensions
Contract extensions are being issued to training providers this week from Monday 2 March via Manage your education and skills funding service.
This is further to our announcement that it is our intention that all new apprenticeship starts, for employers of all sizes, will be managed through the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020 and the accompanying information that until 31 October 2020 smaller employers will continue to be able to access apprenticeships through the apprenticeship service or via existing procured contracts held by training providers (as well as via transferred funds from employers who pay the apprenticeship levy).
Training providers with an existing procured contract are receiving an extension to their existing contracts to cover the new financial year. The extensions will fund carry over costs for existing apprentices as well as new apprenticeship starts, however, to align with our intention for all starts to be through the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020, the funding for new starts using the extended contracts will only be available up to and including 31 October 2020.
6. Information: package of support for colleges to strengthen leadership and governance across the further education sector
On 27 February 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) launched a package of support for colleges to help them to strengthen leadership and governance across the further education (FE) sector. This package of almost £14 million of funding builds on the government’s ambition to transform the FE sector, level up skills and opportunities up and down the country and build the skilled workforce that businesses and the country need.
The investment announced by the Secretary of State for Education includes:
- a £9 million college collaboration fund – to support colleges to work together to share their knowledge, expertise and best practice to boost the quality of education and training on offer. The fund builds on the successes of the strategic college improvement fund. We would strongly encourage all FE and sixth form colleges to seriously consider applying. Details about who is eligible and how to apply are available on GOV.UK.
- up to £4.5 million, which will be invested in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes to support improved leadership and governance – developed by The Education and Training Foundation in partnership with the Oxford Saïd Business School, The Chartered Institute of Accountants in England and Wales and The Association of Colleges. This programme will provide FE leaders and governors with tailored support in a range of areas including strategic planning, finance and working with employers to address local and national skills needs. The programme will be delivered through the Education and Training Foundation. Details of each of the courses available through the programme, including how to book, will be available online.
- £200,000 for two governance pilots – to test new and innovative approaches to boost the skills and improve the governance of college boards to make sure they achieve the best outcomes for students. We expect that the pilot services will be up and running later in the spring.
7. Information: update on provider roadshows
ESFA will host the second series of provider roadshows in February and March for main providers on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP).
Emails to register have been sent out to all main providers on RoATP. If you have not received an email to register, please contact us at [email protected].
Our spring 2020 provider roadshows build on feedback from our last events. The insight and information we collected has informed our planning, to help make sure we bring you, our providers, on our change journey with us.
The roadshows are being held around the country throughout March as follows:
- Thursday 5 March, London – Holiday Inn, Wembley (few places left)
- Tuesday 24 March, Midlands – The Citrus Hotel, Coventry (this session is full)
- Thursday 26 March, South – Farnborough College of Technology
- Tuesday 31 March, South West – Taunton Conference Centre at Taunton RFC (few places left)
Please note that registration will be on a first-come-first-served basis. We hope very much to see you in a few weeks!
8. Information: final qualification achievement rates (QAR) for 2018 to 2019
We will publish your final QAR 2018 to 2019 data on Thursday 26 March. All the data will be available through the View Your Education Data portal.
The QAR webpage provide details about this data release and accessing the dashboard. To access the data, please ensure you have the correct IDAMS user access. Please see the IDAMS user guides for creating access or checking your user permissions.
We will publish the National Achievement Rate Tables for 2018 to 2019 on Thursday 26 March at 9:30am.
If you have any questions, please use our online enquiry form.
9. Information: earnings adjustment statement (EAS)
We have made some improvements to our earnings adjustment statement pages. We haven’t changed the guidance. We have collated the information so you can understand what the EAS is, how to submit your file, payment information and deadlines for submissions.
We will publish guidance for academic year 2020 to 2021 in the summer, before the start of the new academic year.
10. Information: registration for the WorldSkills UK skills competitions
Registration for WorldSkills UK (WSUK) skills competitions opened on Monday and is open until Thursday 2 April 2020. The UK-wide skills competitions attract approximately 3,500 students and apprentices, all competing in any of the 70 available skills, and those that excel may go on to form Team UK to represent their country at the ‘Skills Olympics’ in Lyon in 2023.
Beyond the significant development of competitors, there are also associated benefits for providers. Registering for and taking part in WSUK skills competitions is free and, the apprenticeship levy can be used to support apprentices taking part.
Entering students for competitions can also demonstrate compliance to common Ofsted inspection standards, by using competition activity to deliver high quality training and assessments and demonstrating excellence in behaviours and attitudes.
11. Information: support for your advanced mathematics provision
Is your college engaging with the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP)?
The AMSP is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to help schools and colleges increase participation in Core Maths and AS/A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. The programme provides local support with planning your provision of these qualifications, together with free resources and an extensive range of professional development. If you are unable to offer AS/A level Further Mathematics, the AMSP can arrange tuition. Additional support is available in areas of low social mobility.
A key focus of the programme is to raise awareness and uptake of Core Maths, a level 3 qualification for students who have achieved a grade 4 or above in GCSE Mathematics, which can be taken alongside vocational qualifications and/or A levels.
In addition to funding the AMSP, the government has introduced funding incentives to increase participation in advanced mathematics qualifications. Further details are available on the AMSP website.
12. Your feedback: we would welcome your feedback on a new online form to report extremism concerns
As part of our work to help the education sector raise any matters or concerns that arise on extremism, we would like to speak to the sector to receive their feedback on a new online form.
DfE offer a service for anyone to report a concern relating to extremism within an educational environment using email or phone. We are currently working on an online form as an additional anonymous method to use the service. To ensure that the form is intuitive and easy to use, we’re looking for some volunteers to help us with our research. The research session will consist of you going through a test version of the form.
If you wish to take part in the research, where we will spend 30 to 45 minutes speaking to you on a 1 to 1 basis, either remotely using Skype or during a site visit, please email [email protected] by Friday 6 March 2020.