16 to 19 education: market entry
Information about how to get EFA funding for post-16 education and training.
How to get EFA funding for post-16 education and training
Education Funding Agency (EFA) directly funds colleges, providers, schools, academies and independent specialist providers for the provision of education and training to students aged 16 to 19 (and up to 24 for those with learning disability or learning difficulty).
Every year we review the procedures for prospective providers of education to be recognised and receive funding.
There are a number of ways to enter this market dependent on the type of institution proposed.
It is a legislative requirement under the Education Act 2011 that all new schools must be academies. You can apply to open different types of academy including:
- free schools
- university technical colleges (UTCs)
- studio schools
Some of the processes for establishing these types of institution are subject to fixed application windows.
Periodic tendering opportunities
Gaps in provision
Under EU procurement law, we do not always have to tender for the delivery of education and training opportunities. However, when we do fund a new provider or new provision there is an expectation that processes and procedures are fair and transparent.
Therefore, we use a mix of local negotiation and tendering appropriate to the circumstances in each case.
In support of local authorities’ statutory duty to secure provision in an area, we will consider their requests to fill a gap in provision. Where these gaps cannot be filled through negotiation with good existing providers they are put out to tender through open competition and advertised through the EFA e-bulletin and on ‘Contracts Finder’, the government’s site for advertising its contract opportunities.
Local authorities may submit a case regarding a gap in provision at any point in the year. Cases should be made using a standard template:
Market entry LA gaps application template (MS Word Document, 77.7KB)
We will apply standard criteria to ensure that the gap is well evidenced prior to securing additional places.
We may seek to replace provision lost through a market failure or forced exit by government intervention or a voluntary exit created by a provider’s own business decision.
Subject to circumstances we may negotiate with local providers about replacing that provision. Where replacement provision cannot be secured through an appropriate existing provider(s) it will normally be put out to tender through open competition and advertised through the EFA e-bulletin and on Contracts Finder.
Where the need to secure alternative provision for existing students is urgent, EFA may elect to make a single tender award in line with its internal scheme of delegation.
New high-quality provision
We want to ensure that opportunities for developing new outstanding provision are always available.
EFA will fund new provision where it adds value and is a high quality addition to the existing offer for young people. To this end, we are open to discussions about new provision with commercial and charitable providers (CCPs) without an EFA contract that currently hold (or receive in the course of the year) an Ofsted rating of grade 1 outstanding for overall effectiveness.
We will only support new provision as part of this process. We will not consider approaches that are seeking to move sub-contracted provision to a directly funded contract.
Understanding the difference between types of institution
Types of schools
GOV.UK gives information about submitting:
In addition, there are a number of other ways organisations interested in delivering education and training can enter the education and training market, which are explained below.
Establishing a further education or sixth-form college
Information about establishing a new sixth-form college corporation can be found on GOV.UK.
As specified in Section 33C of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, any person or body can request that the Secretary of State establish, by order, a new sixth-form college corporation.
Expanding a school or academy by adding a sixth-form
A maintained school can apply to its local authority if it wishes to extend the age range of its school to add a sixth-form. For more information you can find guidance about changes to a school and expansions on GOV.UK.
The Secretary of State retains responsibility for decisions to make significant changes to academies. If an academy wishes to extend its age range to add a sixth-form it should submit a business case using our online enquiry form.
In order to make a decision, the Secretary of State will need to know:
- the rationale for the proposal, including the demand for the additional provision and the educational benefits to students
- the degree of support from the local authority, the local community and parents
- evidence of the school’s ability to deal with the change, specifically in terms of leadership and governance
- any proposed changes to the way the school is governed and suggested changes to admissions arrangements
- issues around the existing school site, including any plans for capital adaptations, additions, refurbishments and land transfers needed
- cost effectiveness in terms of capital and recurrent funding (the proposal should include some indicative costings and proposals for how costs might be met)
Please read the guide on making significant changes to an existing academy for more information.
Other ways that 16 to 18 education and training can be funded
High needs students (HNS) 16 to 25 years
The due diligence process for special post-16 institutions, published in September 2015, is the means by which EFA assures itself that institutions commissioned by local authorities for 10 or more high needs places are suitable to receive public funding from EFA for the delivery of high needs provision.
As part of our funding guidance, EFA publishes sub-contracting control regulations, which set out our expectations and requirements of directly funded institutions that enter into sub-contracting arrangements in respect of EFA-funded provision.
Maintained schools and academies are reminded that from the 2015 to 2016 academic year, it has been a requirement that sub-contracted activity is recorded in the school census return.
The requirements for sub-contracting are set out in the guidance note on GOV.UK.
Organisations cannot novate or transfer EFA contracts. In limited circumstances we may sanction the novation of a contract from a lead contractor to an existing sub-contractor or a new organisation.
Contract novation can only occur with the written agreement of the lead contractor. We must also be satisfied that the sub-contractor or new organisation has the capacity and facilities to deliver high quality provision in its own right.
Any such applications should be sent using our online enquiry form.
The appropriate funding limit for the existing sub-contractor or new organisation will be set as part of the financial information supplied as part of due diligence.
Providers wishing to deliver apprenticeship provision to young people should make an application to the Skills Funding Agency.
Published: 10 March 2014
Updated: 26 July 2016
- Updated document added for the academic year 2016 to 2017.
- Updated to remove information about funding streams that have ended or no longer managed by EFA
- Information on sub-contracting for 2015 to 2016 added
- First published.