News from in and around the education and training sector.

SFA News 23rd September 2015


Apprenticeship Minimum Wage: Increase

From Thursday, 1 October, the apprenticeship minimum wage will rise to £3.30 an hour. Any vacancies submitted through the Apprenticeship vacancies service with a start date of 1 October or later must reflect the new rate.

For all roles advertising apprenticeships that pay less than the national minimum wage, you must include the standard apprenticeship minimum wage text in the ‘Important Other Information’ section to meet the legal requirements.

You may wish to consider advertising the new rate for all vacancies from now onwards. This will make the vacancies more appealing to candidates and attract higher volumes of applications.


New Apprenticeship Standards

The SFA have recently published 52 new apprenticeship standards. These new standards are available to use and have an approved assessment plan and funding cap assigned to them. Please review the standards to see how they match your current areas of apprenticeship delivery.

Apprenticeship standards will replace apprenticeship frameworks: this is your opportunity to ensure your employers are aware of the changes and consider delivery of the new standards. It is also an opportunity to identify new areas of delivery for your organisation.

For further information about the standards, please contact your Central Delivery Service adviser.

To participate in an existing trailblazer project developing a standard in your sector, please email Trailblazers at the Association of Colleges.


Early Years Educator Pathway: International General Certificate of Secondary Education

The SFA will fund apprentices on the Early Years Educator pathway of the Children and Young People’s Workforce framework for the 2015 to 2016 funding year for an accredited International General Certificate of Secondary Education (iGCSE) in English and maths. This also applies to apprentices who started this pathway between 6 April 2015 and 31 July 2015 who do not already have a GCSE in English and maths.

For these apprentices this meets the requirements in the following:

  • Apprenticeships framework

  • Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England

  • Early Years Foundation Stage


They will update the Learning Aims Reference Service data to include this change for the individualised learner record R02 collection, which opens on Wednesday, 23 September.

For further information, please contact your Central Delivery Service adviser.


Qualification Achievement Rates 2015 to 2016: Business Rules

The SFA have published the Qualification Achievement Rates: Business Rules for the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

This document explains which aims or frameworks we calculate qualification achievement rates for and the related methodology. Please make your curriculum, quality, data or management information system managers aware of it. They need to understand the implications of the main changes to the business rules since the 2014 to 2015 academic year.

They aim to publish further information, including the dataset specifications, on the Qualification Achievement Rate 2015 to 2016 section of our website on GOV.UK by the end of October 2015.

For further information, please contact the Service Desk.


Qualification Achievement Rates 2014 to 2015: Webinar  

From 10.00am to midday on Friday, 2 October the SFA are hosting a webinar about qualification achievement rate (QAR) information for the 2014 to 2015 academic year. During the webinar, they will demonstrate a prototype of the dashboard they will use to deliver this information.

The SFA are not restricting this interactive webinar to management information staff; they would like representation from a range of information-users. However, places are limited so that attendees can contribute. The SFA will allocate places on a first-come first-served basis.

The SFA will make provisional 2014 to 2015 QAR information, including QAR datasets, available to check in December 2015. They will publish these alongside the statistical first release in January 2016.


National Apprenticeship Week 2015 Toolkits: Survey

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 will run from 14 to 18 March 2016. For a number of years the SFA have created toolkits for you to use during the week and would like your views on these toolkits.

Please complete a short survey by Friday, 25 September to identify what you found useful in the 2015 toolkits. The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete and your feedback will help us shape next year’s toolkit.


Individualised Learner Record R02 2015 to 2016: Opens Wednesday, 23 September

The individualised learner record (ILR) R02 data collection for the 2015 to 2016 funding year opened at 9.00am today, Wednesday, 23 September.

If you are due to make a return for R02, you must submit your data to the Hub.

The SFA have published a maintenance schedule, which lists future collection dates and proposed system maintenance.

For further information, please refer to the Payments and Data section of the SFA website on GOV.UK.


European Social Fund 2007 to 2013: Contract Closure

The closing date for the final upload of data for European Social Fund (ESF) 2007 to 2013 contracts is 23 October. You must clear any data issues before this date.

The will use data you submit to reconcile contracts. Any data errors that are not cleared will affect your final payment. As a result, we may remove activity and recover funds.

For further information, please email your ESF Compliance and Performance adviser.


London European Social Fund Apprenticeship Grant for Employers

The SFA are reconciling our European Social Fund (ESF) programme and will no longer process any new requests for ESF Apprenticeship Grant for Employers facilities.

You must claim your grants from your existing facility before the R14 data collection closes on 23 October.

For further information, please email your ESF Compliance and Performance adviser.


Earnings Adjustment Statement Guidance: Version 2

We have published version 2 of the Earnings Adjustment Statement (EAS) 2015 to 2016 guidance.

The EAS form will be available for the individualised learner record (ILR) R02 collection; please complete this to claim funding not recorded on the ILR.

To make it easier to complete the EAS form the SFA have updated the collection with the following key changes:

  • A single EAS form covering all 12 funding months.

  • The EAS form only displays the different funding sections if these are in your contract.


The EAS for the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service will not be available for the ILR R02 collection. This will be available for the ILR R03 collection.

For further information, please email the Service Desk.


Data Collections and Feconnect: Survey

The SFA would like feedback about their current individualised learner record (ILR) data collection systems.

Staff responsible for your ILR returns can complete a short survey by Friday, 2 October. It also includes a section on feconnect, a digital service many colleges and other training organisations use to discuss funding and data issues.

Their feedback will help teh SFA measure how satisfied users are and help the SFA further improve these services.

For further information, please email the Service Desk.

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