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The ESFA has published the updated rules and regulations regarding apprenticeship funding for 2022-23. This guide will give you an overview of the changes as well as links to useful information including the official ESFA publications.

Training Plans

The first thing to note, Apprenticeship training plans have been rebranded from ‘Commitment Statement’ to ‘Learner Training Plan’.

A training plan is a learning schedule by which all parties agree on making sure from the beginning that all expectations of the programme are documented. It is crucial that employers are involved in the ‘Learner Training Plan’ from the get-go as this will form a huge part of what the proposal looks like.

The new changes are intended to generate greater clarity as to how a learner will achieve their programme. This includes a complete breakdown of all the modules within their learning plan, clarity on how they are going to be delivered and what resources will be available to aid the learner in achieving.

The ‘Learner Training Plan’ also outlines the employers involvement in these activities, those include:

  • The employer participation in enrolment to outline and agree on training plans prior to the learner starting on programme.

  • The understanding of how off-the-job is planned and achieved, who will be delivering each part of the programme and how each learner will achieve their programme.

  • Involvement in rescheduling training where necessary.

  • The outlining of practical and employment start dates to support wage requirements for apprenticeships.

Off-the-job Training (OTJ)

Off-the-job training is a compulsory part of the programme and the format is still similar to how it has been previously executed. It still makes up a huge part of the training, however, this year the key change of OTJ hours have been baselined.

This means learners who work over 30+ hours per week will have a reduced number of OTJ hours. Instead of being linked only to the learners working hours, OTJ is now linked back to the curriculum itself. Learners working fewer than 30 hours will do the same amount of OTJ hours, however, this will be spread over a longer period.

A further alteration to the OTJ hours is an increased level of facilitating in employer-led activities. These can include but are not limited to, mentoring and shadowing and this should be planned and agreed before the learner begins on programme. Real-time evidence and documentation should be emphasised rather than just waiting for reviews.

  • OTJ hours baseline – The 6 hour baseline is worked out as it is 20% of 30 hours per week (the minimum for full time staff), if you work under 30 hours per week the 20% is worked out based on your hours worked (e.g. if you work 20 hours per week this will be 4 hours per week baseline (20% of 20).

  • Where and when Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments or curriculum suggests OTJ hours should be decreased for learners.

  • Employer involvement must be coordinated before delivery against OTJ.

  • Progress during OTJ must be tracked and a delay in activities must be replanned and agreed with the employer.

  • At the end of the learner's practical period, actual OTJ hours must be reported including when/if a learner takes a break in learning or changes employer.

  • OTJ delivery should be supported with high degrees of evidence and this must be linked to the training plan.

It is also worth noting the difference between planned and minimum. The planned hours is what a curriculum is made up of (after any deductions for RPL), the minimum is the least amount of those hours the learner would have to complete before they can enter gateway and take EPA. If they complete more than the minimum but less than the planned, the employer must sign a declaration to confirm they are happy with the training given and the learner is ready for EPA before we can put them through gateway.

Programme Delivery

There are 2 main parts of programme delivery, progress reviews and active learning.

To ensure that all learners are getting the materials they require and their OTJ entitlement there is now a greater monitoring plan in place for active learning. There is also an increase in the scope of active learning to include functional skills and OTJ training.

Every 12 weeks at, least learners will communicate with their coach and employer in the form of a progress review. It's an opportunity for all parties to consider the previous period of learning and establish the objectives being put in place.

All reviews scheduled can be agreed with the learner at the beginning of the programme. Employer involvement in progress reviews is required.

  • To support timely achievement and on programme payments there is an increased scope of active learning.

  • Mandated minimum of 12-week intervals for progress reviews.

  • Content for progress reviews must now include:

  • Teaching and training that has been delivered should be documented.

  • Employers should be involved and participate in the progress reviews and this should be documented.

  • Any progress made regarding previously set activities and actions should be documented.

  • Any OTJ training outside of the provider's remit must be documented. This includes but is not limited to employer-led activities.

  • Anything that may affect a learner's training such as a change in circumstance must be documented.

  • Any concerns from a provider, learner or employer must be documented.

  • Timescales for delivery and newly planned actions should be revised in the training plan.

  • Actions for the next review should be agreed and documented.

  • All parties (provider, learner or employer) must date and sign all progress reviews.

Changes to Eligible/Ineligible Costs

As part of the updated ESFA funding rules eligible and ineligible costs have been expanded. In this section, we will be providing an overview of 2 key points these are End-point assessment (EPA) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Eligible costs include End-point assessment, however, it should be noted that only one resit is included. This means a second attempt at a learners final assessment would be covered should they fail or go through re-training. Any additional resits following this would have to be funded by other means.

There were no means of reducing negotiated prices based on RPL before the beginning of an apprenticeship. This year however there is a formulaic response for all providers to follow (see below).

  • Following RPL assessments any financial reductions to negotiated prices must be based on the price within the cap.

  • Price reductions for RPL follow a formulated approach to account for the provider's fixed costs. 50% is the maximum that can use for fixed costs so this may differ by programme once costing models are amended. It’s also based on a learners off the job, so if the total planned OTJ hours for the programme was 500 and their RPL was 50 hours that would be 10% of the programme, so the cost would be expected to be reduce by at least 5% (or this would be higher if fixed costs were lower).

  • EPA prices must be actual. Any resits in addition to the one resit included must be funded by the employer (outside of the levy) or absorbed by the provider.

  • When approved in the digital apprenticeships, employers are required to ensure all learners are on the correct PAYE scheme.

Functional Skills Updates

Only those learners on Level 2 apprenticeships will be affected by the updates to functional skills. Previous guidelines suggest that learners who had to do Level 1 functional skills were expected to upskill to Level 2.

As this policy may not be appropriate for all learners this has been revised. Learners will now not always be required to upskill their functional skills.

This will now instead be based on 2 factors:

  1. Capacity. Is there enough time left on the programme to complete significant learning.

  2. Capability. Is the learner capable of completing the higher level.

  • To ensure learners can complete their programme in a timely manner, amendments have been made to the upskill policies.

  • When the below applies, all Level 2 apprenticeships are required to complete upskill functional skills:

  • Initial assessment requires the learner to move immediately to Level 2 assessment.

  • There is enough time remaining on programme for the learner to complete significant learning.

  • It has been determined that the learner is able to complete Level 2 (through judgments and mock assessments).

  • If the learner has exemptions for level 1 only, they would need to attempt level 2 Functional Skills.

ESFA Documents

The 2022 to 2023 funding rules will apply to apprenticeships starting between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023. Please find a complete breakdown of the ESFA rules and regulations in the documents below:

View the funding rules in PDF format for:

Other documents:

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