Guidance

16 to 19 funding: large programme uplift

Information on the large programme uplift

Large programme uplift

We will be introducing a change to the large programme uplift.

Students studying A level further maths as part of a large programme (for example 4 or 5 A levels) currently attract the appropriate large programme uplift only if they achieve a grade B or better in all of the subjects. We are changing this so that students taking further maths A level will qualify for large programme funding when they achieve a grade C in this subject and the remainder of their results are at grade B or better. This should remove the disincentive identified in Sir Adrian Smith’s review of post 16 maths not to enrol students on further maths.

For example:

Qualification title Qualification type Exam grade  
GCE A Level in Biology GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Chemistry GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Further Mathematics GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Physics GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
Qualification title Qualification type Exam grade  
GCE A Level in Biology GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Chemistry GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Further Mathematics GCE A level C Qualifies for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Physics GCE A level B Qualifies for large programme uplift
Qualification title Qualification type Exam grade  
GCE A Level in Biology GCE A level B Doesn’t qualify for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Chemistry GCE A level B Doesn’t qualify for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Further Mathematics GCE A level B Doesn’t qualify for large programme uplift
GCE A Level in Physics GCE A level C Doesn’t qualify for large programme uplift

This will apply to students starting their study programme in academic year 2018 to 2019, feeding into funding allocations from academic year 2022 to 2023.

Introduction

Funding guidance

This note sets out the conditions under which the ESFA will pay a large programme uplift. It provides further information to institutions to support them in understanding and planning for the large programme uplift.

It also sets out the requirements for study programmes to meet the large programme uplift, that is, to be of high quality, and to provide students with substantial stretch and challenge.

Purpose

The introduction of study programmes in academic year 2013 to 2014 funded full time programmes at an average of 600 hours. At that time Ministers recognised that there were a small number of study programmes that were necessarily much larger than 600 hours, in order to prepare students for work or some university courses.

A ministerial announcement in July 2014 set out the policy for a large programme uplift for the start of academic year 2016 to 2017. It was timed so that institutions would be aware of the arrangements when offering study programmes for the start of the academic year 2014 to 2015.

The purpose of the large programme uplift is to contribute to the costs of necessarily large study programmes where they are of high quality and provide substantial stretch and challenge.

Further information on the background to large programmes is below. The full ministerial statement is available on GOV.UK.

Definition of the large programme uplift

The large programme uplift reflects that some study programmes are necessarily much larger than 600 hours.

The large programme uplift is by exception and is only available for high quality study programmes providing students with substantial stretch and challenge. For example programmes of 4 or more full A levels, the full level 3 International Baccalaureate (IB), and some large, level 3, Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc) programmes. The uplift is paid where a set quality threshold is met.

Details about programmes that meet the TechBacc measure are available on GOV.UK.

We will apply an uplift of either 10% or 20% to the full time national funding rate per student to large programmes that meet the criteria set out in this note. The 10% and 20% uplifts will be calculated based on the national funding rate for the relevant academic year.

The uplift is only paid for 2 years for each student aged 16 and 17, that is academic years 12 and 13 only. Large programmes that take longer than 2 years do not get any additional uplift.

Students covered by the large programme uplift

The large programme uplift only applies to 16 and 17 year olds studying large programmes that meet the size and achievement criteria set out in this note.

Students aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) can qualify for a large programme uplift.

Students on traineeships, apprenticeships, and supported internships do not qualify for a large programme uplift.

Large A level programmes

Large A level programmes (identified by A2 qualifications and the 2 year linear A level qualifications) will attract an uplift.

AS levels do not count towards the large programme uplift. A2 levels or linear A levels in General Studies and Critical Thinking are also not included. Other than advising these 2 subjects are excluded, we do not expect to give detailed advice on the content or delivery of large programmes.

Pre-U Qualifications

A Pre-U Principal or Research subject certificate graded at M1 or higher (not including 1 year short programmes) is equivalent to 1 A level for the purpose of the uplift. The Pre-U certificate has to be part of a programme that is equivalent to 4 A levels or more to qualify. This can be all Pre-U certificates or a mixture of Pre-U certificates and A levels within a large programme. Pre-Us are listed on Learning Aims Reference Service (LARS) and can be found by searching for “Pre-U”.

Study programmes of 4 A levels receive a 10% uplift

Students who achieve 4 full A2 or linear A level qualifications at grade B or better, in each A level, will qualify for an uplift of 10% to the full time national funding rate for the academic year in which the allocation is made.

Study programmes of 5 A levels receive a 20% uplift

Students who achieve 5 full A2 or linear A level qualifications at grade B or better, in each A level, will qualify for an uplift of 20% to the full time national funding rate for the academic year in which the allocation is made.

A student who is enrolled on a study programme of 5 full A levels but only achieved grade B or better in 4 of them will attract the 10% uplift.

Large International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes

The full level 3 International Baccalaureate Diploma is necessarily a large programme as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) stipulates that the teaching time for the IB must add up to 1,450 to 1,500 hours across the 2 years of the programme.

Students who complete the full level 3 Diploma and achieve 28 or more points will attract a 20% uplift to the full time national funding rate for the year in which the allocation is made. 28 points is broadly equivalent to grade B at A level.

If a student achieves a pass with 24 points, but does not achieve 28 points, then no uplift will be paid.

Large TechBacc Programmes

The combination of qualifications recognised by the TechBacc performance tables measure can attract an uplift.

The uplift applies to large TechBacc programmes that include a qualification in the Tech level performance table category, a level 3 maths qualification and an Extended Project Qualification.

Details of programmes that meet the TechBacc measure are available on GOV.UK.

Large TechBacc programmes equivalent to 4 A levels attract a 10% uplift

We will apply a 10% uplift to the national funding rate per student for full TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent of 4 A levels in size.

A 10% uplift to the full time national funding rate, for the academic year in which the allocation is made, will be paid for students who successfully complete TechBacc programmes that include the extended project qualification and either:

  • a Tech level that is a minimum of 900 GLH plus A level maths or
  • a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,050 GLH plus AS/Core Maths

Note that GLH (guided learning hours) are awarding body recommended hours and are only used for the purpose of identifying large programmes. Funding is based on planned hours.

Large TechBacc Programmes equivalent to the full International Baccalaureate attract a 20% uplift

We will apply a 20% uplift to the national funding rate per student for full TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent or larger of the full level 3 IB.

A 20% uplift to the full time national funding rate, for the academic year in which the allocation is made will be paid for students who successfully complete TechBacc programmes that include the extended project qualification and either

  • a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,020 GLH plus A level Maths or
  • a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,170 GLH plus AS/Core Maths

Note that GLH (guided learning hours) are awarding body recommended hours and are only used for the purpose of identifying large programmes. Funding is based on planned hours.

Qualifications that count towards the Tech level element of the TechBacc measure

The Tech level performance table category covers rigorous advanced technical qualifications at level 3, on a par with A levels and recognised by employers. They equip students with specialist knowledge and skills, enabling entry to an Apprenticeship, other skilled employment or a technical degree.

The qualifications falling within this category are published annually by DfE.

Qualifications that count towards the maths element of the TechBacc measure

For programmes taught from September 2014 (such as reported in performance tables in 2016), the TechBacc measure includes the following maths qualifications:

  • AS/A levels in Mathematics
  • International Baccalaureate Certificates in Mathematical Studies and Mathematics
  • AS level in Quantitative Methods (OCR)
  • AS/A levels in Use of Mathematics (AQA)
  • Core Maths

For programmes taught from academic year 2015 to 2016 (reported in the 2017 performance tables published in early 2018), the following maths qualifications will be included in the TechBacc measure:

  • AS/A levels in Mathematics
  • International Baccalaureate Certificates in Mathematical Studies and Mathematics
  • Core Maths

The list of approved core maths qualifications is available on GOV.UK

TechBacc grading

We are not planning to take into account the grade achieved for any of the elements of the TechBacc until grading is a requirement for all 3 types of qualification within the TechBacc measure.

Attainment data from the examination of these qualifications in academic year 2017 to 2018 will be used to calculate allocations from academic year 2020 to 2021, as the attainment data from academic year 2016 to 2017 will not be available until early 2019. This is too late for the 2019 to 2020 allocations. Prior to 2020 to 2021 allocations payment will be calculated on the number of students passing all 3 qualifications.

TechBacc policy

General information about the TechBacc policy is available in the TechBacc policy statement.

16-19 performance table measures can be found within the accountability measures via this link to the Technical Guidance.

Summary of Requirements

Uplift % Applies to
10% the base funding rate per student where the student passes 4 A2 or full linear A levels (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or above
20% the base funding rate per student where the student passes 5 A2 or full linear A levels (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or above
20% to the base funding rate per student for the full level 3 International Baccalaureate Diploma where the student achieves 28 points or above
10% the base funding rate per student for large TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent of 4 A levels in size, where the student passes all of the qualifications, and include a level 3 maths qualification and extended project such as a) A level Maths and a Tech level that is a minimum of 900 GLH or b) AS/Core Maths and a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,050 GLH
20% the base funding rate per student for large TechBacc programmes that are the size of the full level 3 International Baccalaureate, where the student passes all of the qualifications, and include a level 3 maths qualification and extended project such as a) A level Maths and a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,020 GLH or b) AS/Core Maths and a Tech level that is a minimum of 1,170 GLH

How the uplift will be calculated

The uplift will operate in the existing funding system, that is, lagged student numbers based on the previous academic year as recorded in the autumn school census, ILR R04 and end year HESA data.

The students attracting the large programme uplift will be separately identified from the last full year for which we have historic attainment data and split into those attracting the 10% uplift and those attracting the 20% uplift. We will identify students through their learning aims recorded for year 12 and the uplift will be doubled to apply the uplift for 2 years.

From this data a total uplift funding value will be calculated and added to the end of the funding formula. The uplift is applied after retention, programme cost weighting and disadvantage has been applied to the national funding rate per student. The uplift will attract the area cost uplift where it applies.

Figure 1 – Example: How the uplift relates to the funding formula

Example: How the uplift relates to the funding formula

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As the criteria for implementing of the uplift includes student attainment, which will rely on data matched in from the National Pupil Database, there will be a 3 year lag. This means, for example, that for allocations for the academic year 2018 to 2019 we will use attainment data from 2015 to 2016.

Institutions will receive detailed advice applicable to each academic year in the general advice note supplied with their allocation.

Data collection

There are no additional data collection requirements for the large programme uplift. All large programmes must be accurately recorded in funding data to meet the criteria for the uplift in future funding allocations. This is because funding of large programmes is based on prior years’ data. Therefore aims must be entered accurately. There is no additional data checking process for the large programme uplift.

Institutions who believe this methodology does not reflect their delivery will be able to submit business cases in the allocations window (announced each year). Successful challenge to a large programme uplift must demonstrate that we have not correctly interpreted historical attainment data. Incorrect recording of data is not grounds for a successful challenge.

Background on large programmes funding

Funding for 16 to 19 year olds changed from academic year 2013 to 2014 with the introduction of study programmes and funding per student, as recommended by Professor Alison Wolf in her review of vocational education.

600 hours per academic year is the average number of hours in a full time study programme. However there have been concerns that some programmes over 600 hours would be discontinued due to funding not being sufficient for institutions to continue to teach programmes necessarily much larger than 600 hours.

It is important to note that the concern was for a specific set of programmes that would be lost, not for all programmes larger than 600 hours. At that time Ministers recognised that there were a small number of study programmes that were necessarily much larger than 600 hours, in order to prepare students for work or some university courses. They also recognised that some careers, such as medicine, engineering and some skills-based or technical careers had demanding entry standards.

The July 2014 announcement by Minister of State for Skills and Equalities Nick Boles MP said additional funding would be available to institutions to fund programmes that stretch and challenge their most able students.

In his ministerial statement on 22 July Nick Boles said

“Our funding should support all young people to fulfil their potential. And it is vital that schools are encouraged to offer their brightest students the broadest possible range of qualifications at age 16.

“Alongside reforms to academic and technical qualifications, this announcement demonstrates our support for schools and colleges to stretch and challenge all their students.”

Queries on the large programmes uplift

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 15 December 2014
Last updated 23 September 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated information added for 2016 to 2017
  2. First published.