Guidance

16 to 19 funding: large programme uplift

Information on the large programme uplift

Introduction

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.

Latest updates

We have updated the programmes that can receive the large programme uplift to include A/AS Levels taken alongside T Level programmes.

Purpose

The large programme uplift contributes to the costs of large study programmes (including T Levels) that are of high quality and that provide additional stretch and challenge.

When study programmes were introduced in the academic year 2013 to 2014, funding was based on the average programme size being 600 hours. However, we recognise that some programmes have to be larger in order to prepare students for further study or work. The same principle applies to T Level programmes where some students may study an A/AS Level alongside.

Definition of the large programme uplift

The large programme uplift reflects that some programmes are larger than the usual size in terms of hours.

The large programme uplift is only available for high quality programmes that provide students with additional stretch and challenge. This includes:

  • programmes of 4 or more full A levels
  • the full level 3 International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • some large, level 3, Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc) programmes
  • T level programmes with at least one A or AS level taken alongside

Students have to achieve a minimum grade to be eligible for the uplift.

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 uplifts (including for T Levels) will be calculated based on the national funding rate for full time study programmes of 600 hours for the relevant academic year.

For students undertaking study programmes the uplift is paid for 2 years.

For students undertaking T level programmes AS levels will attract a 1 year payment and A levels will attract a 2 year payment (more detail is set out in the T level programmes and Summary of requirements sections below)

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.

However students aged 18 and over with high needs can also qualify for a large programme uplift. High needs students are those who receive additional learning support funding from their local authority high needs budget (often called top-up funding or element 3).

Any other students aged 18 and over or any 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 2 year linear A level qualifications) will attract an uplift.

AS levels do not count in large A level programmes receiving the large programme uplift. Linear A levels in General Studies and Critical Thinking are also excluded.

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

Students who achieve 4 full linear A level qualifications at grade B or better, in each A level, will qualify for an uplift of 10%.

Study programmes of 5 A levels

Students who achieve 5 full linear A level qualifications at grade B or better (or minimum grade C for further maths), in each A level, will qualify for an uplift of 20%.

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

Further maths A level

From 2018 to 2019 there is a change to the large programme uplift in relation to further maths.

Up to 2017 to 2018, students studying A level further maths as part of a large programme (for example 4 or 5 A levels) 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 as one of their 4 or more A levels 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 to enrol students on further maths identified in Sir Adrian Smith’s review of post-16 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 change applies to students starting their study programme in academic year 2018 to 2019, feeding into funding allocations from academic year 2022 to 2023.

Large International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes

The full level 3 International Baccalaureate Diploma is 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 attracts 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

Full TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent of 4 A levels in size get a 10% uplift to the national funding rate per student.

We will pay the uplift 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

GLH (guided learning hours) are awarding body recommended hours.

Large TechBacc programmes equivalent to the full International Baccalaureate

Full TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent of the full level 3 IB or larger get a 20% uplift.

We pay the uplift 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

GLH (guided learning hours) are awarding body recommended 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 that are 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.

DfE publishes a list of the qualifications in this category every year.

TechBacc grading

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

T Level programmes

A/AS levels (excluding general studies and critical thinking) taken alongside T level programmes may qualify for the large programme uplift.

A student must achieve a minimum merit grade on their T level programme and minimum grade B on their A/AS level (or minimum grade C for further maths) in order to qualify.

Additionally any A /AS levels taken alongside a T level must offer demonstrable additional content that is relevant to the student’s programme and which is not already covered by their T Level qualification (including occupational specialism) content.

Qualifying AS levels taken alongside a T level programme will attract payment for 1 year reflecting that they are usually taken over 1 year.

Qualifying A levels taken alongside a T level programme will attract payment for 2 years reflecting that A level qualifications are usually taken over 2 years.

Summary of requirements

For study programmes

Uplift % Requirements
10% 4 full linear A levels (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or above, or 3 at grade B or above and further maths at grade C
20% 5 full linear A levels (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or above, or 4 at grade B or above and further maths at grade C
20% The full level 3 International Baccalaureate Diploma at 28 points or above
10% TechBacc programmes that are the equivalent of 4 A levels in size, when the student passes all of the qualifications, including a level 3 maths qualification and the extended project
20% TechBacc programmes that are the size of the full level 3 International Baccalaureate, when the student passes all of the qualifications, including a level 3 maths qualification and the extended project

For T Level programmes

The uplifts for T Level programmes are paid for either 1 or 2 years depending on whether it is for an AS Level or an A Level, as indicated below.

Uplift % Requirements
10% paid for 1 year A T level programme with at least a merit grade plus one AS level (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or AS level further maths at grade C
10% paid for 2 years A T level programme with at least a merit grade plus one A level (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or A level further maths at grade C
20% paid for 1 year A T level programme with at least a merit grade plus more than one AS level (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or AS level further maths at grade C
20% paid for 2 years A T level programme with at least a merit grade plus more than one A level (other than General Studies and Critical Thinking) at grade B or A level further maths at grade C

It is very unlikely that a student would take an AS Level and an A Level in different subjects as well as a T Level therefore, students taking a combination of AS and A levels will get the uplift appropriate to the qualifying A Level(s) only. 

How the uplift will be calculated

To identify students who have earned the large programme uplift, we will use attainment data from the latest full year. We will use the learning aims and associated grades at the end of each students qualifying programme.

The total uplift value is applied after retention, programme cost weighting and disadvantage have been applied to the national funding rate per student. The uplift will attract the area cost uplift where it applies.

Allocations will show the numbers separately for those who get the 10% uplift and those who get the 20% uplift.

As the criteria for implementing the uplift includes student attainment, which comes from 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 used attainment data from 2015 to 2016.

Data collection

There are no additional data collection requirements for the large programme uplift. All large programmes must be accurately recorded to meet the criteria for the uplift in future funding allocations.

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.

Queries on the large programmes uplift

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 15 December 2014
Last updated 19 February 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the programmes that can receive the large programme uplift to include A/AS Levels taken alongside T Level programmes

  2. Updated information on the inclusion of further maths A levels.

  3. Updated information added for 2016 to 2017

  4. First published.