ESOL Qualification 'top-up'

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Lisa Macdougall, SFA 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • Simon France

    Hi folks,

    The top-up thing for ESOL qualifications is quite interesting. Although, there is no guidance on how it is to be implemented or how it will be audited.

    They say we are to use the learning aim class codes for ‘non-regulated’ provision and they will use our planned GLH to calculate the funding. Since class B codes are the ones to be used for ASB provision, these will be the ones to use.

    My theory on how it would work would be as follows (well, at least it makes perfect sense to me):

    If we were delivering a QCF Certificate in the 13-24 credit bracket with a base rate of £724 then that is equivalent to the generic aim for 101-196 hours. If it takes us longer than that to deliver the same qualification then we would add the generic aim for 197 – 292 hours (paying £1265) but only claim 42% of it. Then we would get £724 plus £531. This is £10 less than the rate for the longer generic but we can only claim integer percentages and 43% works out at more than the rate for the longer generic. I always think it is better to under-claim than over-claim when making a manual adjustment.

    Would you agree with this implementation?

    My only confusion is the mention of the planned GLH. Do they actually plan on using the Planned GLH field? If they do, how can that work if the Planned GLH has to be set at enrolment and then not changed?



    There have been a couple of LSECT conferences recently and the method that was suggested (and not disagreed with by SFA) was to use the old 12/13 funding per FTE rate as the starting point.

    £2615 / 450GLH = £5.81

    Then take whatever ESOL aim you are applying this to: EG. Reading £300 and divide this by the £5.81 = 52GLH

    Then whatever the difference is between your planned GLH and that 52GLH, then you use a non regulated ‘Z’ code as a ‘top up’ (EG if you plan to deliver in 65 GLH then use Z code from 13-20GLH band (£100 top up)

    It was suggested that only one Z code per learner would be preferable, so if you deliver the components separately this may mean modifying the ‘top up’ aim a few times during the year.

    Additionally there are questions around the what this does to achievement (as this method requires adding aims to a learners record). I gather there may be an ILR identifier on the way that will exclude these aims from QSR. But this still leaves the 20% achievement funding element as a loose end (so all these ‘top up’ aims may have to be marked ‘achieved’ even if the learner fails their ESOL qual – or you’d lose 20% achievement element of the ‘top up’)



    Hi Simon

    I’ve done two conferences in London and Birmingham with Nick Linford about this in the past week so talked at/to almost 200 people about this, crucially including a rep from SFA.

    Me and Nick (being old school) took a slightly different tack basing it more on the old “per hour” rate from 12/13 (a learner on a 450 hour course then generated £2,615 or £5.81 an hour), so the new ESOL QCF S&L at 12 credits is £600 or 103 hours. Then you work out how many hours you’re delivering on top and use that band as a second parallel learning aim.

    So if you did it in 130 hours total, you’d have the 21-44 hour band as your extra aim; 160 hours, you’d use the 45-68 hours etc (spot the “fun” with a 150 hour programme using this method…).

    The SFA rep seemed perfectly happy with this method and unfussed about it possibly leading to us generating *more* funding per learner as it’s just a symptom of banding. No one mentioned PropFundRemain in relation to the top ups at all.

    The most interesting thing was that they’re definitely looking at some kind of LDM flag or similar to put against the addtional Z aims so they will go nowhere near the QSR calculations, which is nice.

    In terms of “planned glh” that’s about your timetable plan to show an auditor NOT about what goes in the ILR field which, after all, is at learner level, not aim level, so wouldn’t work for calculating this anyway, if you’ve got punters on multiple things (as an aside, re-check the definition for 14/15, we get to/are obliged to update it for 19+ learners this year).

    Anyway, this is my interpretation of how it works, I happy to say in the public domain that if the SFA give us significantly more guidance or Rules on how we are to implement it I will eat a small hat of some description. It’s really not how they work these days, we’ll have to interpret it ourselves and, I suspect, as long as we’ve got a solid, repeatable explanation for how we’ve done it, we’ll be fine.



    Just to confirm, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your method, but I think it’s a *lot* more complicated than mine. I really think PropFundRemain is a red herring in this, it’s all about the bands…

    (also, this kind of hat: ;))



    There is also a Sector Training Webinar this afternoon on ESOL. I have not been on one of these before, but it says it is free for Pearson customers.



    Simon France

    Ah, I see. We have to first work out how many hours the listed qualification represents. So, in my example, the Certificate paying £724 would represent 125 hours. I would then add on the Z-code for the extra hours. This is good because, in my example, I wasn’t adding any extra until I reached 196 hours (which wasn’t going to happen, if I’m honest).

    I was hoping to attend the “Nick & Steve ESOL Roadshow” in Birmingham, but unfortunately the final funding claim put a stop to that.

    If anyone attends the Sector Training webinar (can you ‘attend’ a webinar?) then it would be interesting to see if Beej comes up with the same idea.

    Thanks for all the responses. This is what makes this Forum so invaluable. Oh, and if you do end up eating your hat, Steve. Please can you tweet a video of you doing it? 🙂



    (yes, i didn’t use £724 as an example because none of the *new* quals are in 13-24, the separate Awards are all smaller and the new Cert is at least 27 (more with C&G))


    Simon France

    That’s good to know. I’ve been waiting for them to appear on The Hub (which currently doesn’t have a Learning Aims tab, I see).



    We will be publishing additional guidance about how to record and use non regulated aims for ESOL, so please look out for this for clarification on some of the issues you have raised.

    Lisa Macdougall
    Skills Funding Agency

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