Since 2013 funding has been allocated per student rather than per qualification. This change is designed to give providers more freedom to design programmes that meet the needs of their learners. Funding changes related to GCSE English and maths include the following.
- August 2014: the requirement that full time students who had not achieved a grade A*-C GCSE in English and maths should continue to study these subjects became a condition of funding for providers.
Where GCSE A*-C English and maths is not immediately attainable, students can study other English and maths qualifications such as Functional Skills and Free Standing Maths qualifications as 'interim' or 'stepping stone' qualifications on the journey towards achievement of a GCSE.
- September 2015: students who enrol with a GCSE grade D will not be permitted to study stepping stone qualifications.
- 2016: funding reductions for non-compliance with the 16-19 English and maths policy applied to organisations where more than 5% of students by value without A*-C GCSE in English and/or maths did not enrol on an approved qualification in these subjects.
- 2017-2018: Funding reductions will continue to apply for non-compliance with the 16-19 English and maths policy.
Further information on the 16-19 funding rules related to English and maths can be found here.
Funding on a per student, and not a per qualification basis, should make it easier for providers to fund non-qualification activity such as work experiences. Funding is no longer linked to success rates, and students can be entered for more challenging qualifications without fear that failure will affect success, and in turn funding. Students can take fewer qualifications, for example, and spend time on work experience if this is appropriate.
The funding changes give providers more freedom to design programmes that meet the needs of their learners. Yet Ofsted's survey noted that too few:
'…providers had made the best use of the flexibility created by the changes to the funding arrangements. They were not using the funding changes to 'provide individualised study programmes tailored to learners' career plans and their developmental needs.'
For more information on funding, visit the 16 to 19 funding page on Gov.uk.
Download a PDF version of these questions here.