Minimum Standards

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  • Chris

    Can someone remind me how the methodology works for Minimum Standards. I know there is a 40% tolerance level but how is this applied. eg. I have an overall E&T cohort of 1000. Of this I have a GCSE English & Maths Cohort of 357 with 259 showing as below the threshold. To work out the tolerance do I divide the 259 by my Qual Type Cohort (357) or the overall Cohort (1000)? We used to get a pdf report showing this but the new BI Tool is not clear.



    I don’t suppose anyone can advise on this please? The ESFA guidance document (link below) is not clear. It gives an example of Apprenticeships but does not explain how the calculation to work out tolerance is applied to E & T and whether the number of aims below threshold is calculated against the overall E & T Cohort or the Qual Type Cohort.

    Also, in my BI report on the Hub for Minimum standards both the SSA and Qual Type reports show green shading in the bars (or provision below the Threshold) for each group. Does this mean that there is likely to be no intervention? Would these be shaded red if intervention was likely? Again there is no ESFA guidance on how these reports should be read/used.



    Dear Chris

    For each learning aim that fall below the threshold ach. rate for each related qual. type (which in this case is 75%), eg.:

    *If you have 2 learning aims, eg. A – 30 cohorts, ach. rate% 76%; and B – 40 and 45%
    *Learning aim B’s ach. rate% falls below 75% and all 40 are counted towards the no. of overall cohorts along with other learning aims that fall below their respective qual. type ach. rate% threshold.

    In your case this adds up to 257 and is divided by you overall cohorts of 1,000 leavers, giving your 25.7% of your overall cohorts which is well below the ESFA’s 40% threshold.

    Here is the link to the ESFA’s document explaining its methodology, para. 53 onwards:



    Hi Yazz, thank you for that – much appreciated.



    Just an updateon this we have just been told by ESFA that we are in scope for intervention as they are using the number below as a percentage of the total E & T cohort.

    Our overall E & T Cohort is 1327 and we have a total of 681 below the threshold = 51% (above the tolerance level)

    I originally thought they would be looking at this at Qual Type level – eg. Award = 241 below threshold = 1% of overall cohort so Awards not in scope for intervention. Looks as if I am wrong.

    I would welcome other views on this as we are currently being inspected by Ofsted and ESFA have said they will be outlining this to the HMI.



    Hi Chris

    Yes, it’s the aims below threshold, then sum up all the starts (leavers) from those aims, that gives the size of cohort for the tolerance calc.

    You might want to look at each aim and work out how many starts you were short of reaching the threshold for that aim. (also helps build credibility if you know the data inside out at aim level) if you’re one or two short here and there, that’s better than being way off.

    Depending on what type of delivery you have, there are also arguments that may carry some weight.

    For example if you do loads of functional skills L1 & 2 – it’s possible for you to be above the national average, yet come under threshold for minimum standards – if you have sufficient weight if that type of instance, that may help.

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