ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme (July to October 2020)

Information about support available for post-16 training providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This publication was withdrawn on

This page has been withdrawn as the scheme is now closed.

Applies to England



Applications can now be made to the ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme (July to October 2020).

Eligible training providers should read our policy and guidance before making an application using the link below.

The closing date for applications is midnight Thursday 9 July 2020. We will respond to your application by Thursday 6 August 2020.

Apply for the ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme.

To be eligible to receive support from the scheme you must hold a direct contract that was procured as a service under Public Contract Regulations 2015. This applies to apprenticeship contracts for services that commenced in January 2018, for delivery to smaller employers that do not pay the levy (non-levy), and adult education budget contracts for services that commenced in November 2017.

You may still be eligible to apply for funding if you applied to the earlier post -16 provider relief scheme (April to June 2020) and were unsuccessful.

In addition to holding an eligible contract you will be required to meet the following conditions:

  • 2018 to 2019 qualification achievement rates which are above 40%. However, providers with rates below that can submit an exceptional case that they are a critical supplier based on niche provision. Further information on the criteria for exception cases can be found in the application guidance

  • have submitted their latest financial accounts to the ESFA where these are due by 19 June 2020

  • not been judged by Ofsted as making insufficient progress as a result of a new provider monitoring visit which resulted in a suspension on new starts

  • delivered under the contract prior to April 2020

  • plan to deliver learning under the contract in July, August, September and October 2020, and demonstrate the ability to continue to deliver without additional support from November

  • not furloughed the staff required to deliver the contract (you are eligible to apply to the Relief Scheme if staff are fully or partially withdrawn from any claim for furlough if such a claim has been made when they return to work); and

    • not received a notice of termination from the ESFA terminate the provider’s AEB or non-levy contract

Training providers who hold a contract for services to deliver apprenticeships to smaller employers (non-levy), must also be listed on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) as a main provider.

Only training providers who meet the scheme criteria will be eligible to receive support under the Relief Scheme. If a training provider in receipt of support from the Relief Scheme no longer meets the criteria, they will cease to be eligible.

Providers will need to demonstrate that they have a need for the funding requested in order to maintain capacity within their organisations to support learners and respond to the economic recovery. They will also need explain how they are going to update and change delivery models to operate without further relief from November 2020.

If successful, you will need to provide a summary of how the support funding has been used, and you must retain evidence for audit purposes that this has been used for eligible costs; we reserve the right to recover unused funds or funds used inappropriately.

We are also opening applications to the relief scheme for providers co-financed by the European Social Fund.

Published 24 April 2020
Last updated 25 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have added updated policy documents for ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme (July to October 2020) which is now open.

  2. Page updated to reflect extended deadline of midnight Sunday 3 May 2020.

  3. First published.