The ESFA implements a diverse range of programming, from adult skills development to careers advice, from secondary education to delivering apprenticeships, T Levels and other FE opportunities. The 2018 to 2019 annual report sets out how the ESFA delivered on its ambitious aims
During the 2018 to 2019 financial year, the ESFA delivered 100% of expected funding allocations to 25,000 education institutions on time, including the new National Funding Formula allocations, which were delivered to over 8,500 academies.
£60 million was invested into the new technical qualification ‘T Levels’ - dedicated staff and systems were implemented ahead of industry placements commencing in 2020, and the agency committed a further £74 million to expand the programme in 2019 to 2020.
And the agency remained committed to introducing new oversight measures to ensure best use of public spending. This included:
- requesting a 3-year budget forecast return for the whole academy sector to promote good financial planning.
- funding Ofsted to carry out monitoring visits on all new apprenticeship providers within 24 months of their funding start date.
- challenging excessively high pay, resulting in 50 academy trusts reducing their salaries.
Eileen Milner, ESFA Chief Executive said:
I take great pride in the changes the ESFA has made this past year, resulting in all of our expected funds being issued correctly and on time.
It is our duty to make sure that education providers are using their funds effectively and for the purposes intended by parliament, which is why we have focused our efforts on working with the sector to develop and enhance our assurance frameworks, and to strengthen the control environments in which they operate.
We have made significant improvements in how the agency operates, but we must not be complacent, nor ignorant to the challenges that lay ahead. We must continue to improve our systems and streamline our processes, to make receiving and applying for funding easier for those whose job it is to educate the next generation.
The ESFA, as part of the wider DfE, is responsible for both policy development and operational delivery across a range of sectors and settings – these include working with some 3000 academy trusts to ensure that financial resources are well utilised and good governance is deployed; providing support and challenge to the FE sector; delivering T Level qualifications and leading work on qualifications reviews; delivering apprenticeships policy across England and being the home of both the National Careers Service and the National Apprenticeships Service.
Irene Lucas, Chair ESFA Management Board said:
Since starting in post, I have been impressed with the expertise and dedication of people in the agency, who deliver such crucial programmes and services.
To ensure a higher level of scrutiny, oversight and influence, the board has aligned its members with ESFA’s strategic objectives to enrich the collective knowledge of the business.
I have confidence that the governance procedures and practices in place are robust enough to overcome the challenge and change that is yet to come.