16 to 19 funding: planned hours in study programmes
This note provides the latest information on planned hours to assist funded institutions planning study programmes across the individual academic years.
This note provides the latest information on planned hours to assist funded institutions plan study programmes across the individual academic years. (For funding purposes this means from 1 August to 31 July each year).
The contractual requirements for planned hours are incorporated into the funding guidance each year. The advice on this page is consistent with the contractual advice issued for each individual year.
Changes to this edition
School census only 1 years’ data needed
From August 2015 onwards, school census users need to enter data for one year only for each student. This is a change from 2014, where we asked you to enter 2 years data. Further information is available in section Recording planned hours in the school census.
Recording non qualification hours
It is important to record non-qualification hours accurately. Some institutions are making errors in recording non-qualification hours. These errors can impact on your allocation so it is important to get it right.
All 16 to 19 year old students are funded for an individual study programme. Most study programmes have a core aim. The core aim of a study programme should be a substantial academic or vocational qualification or work experience.
The study programme must be tailored to each student, have clear study and/or employment goals reflecting the student’s prior attainment, and include
- substantial qualifications or work experience
- maths and English for students who have not achieved grade A*-C GCSE in these subjects
- high quality work experience or work preparation
- added value non-qualification activity that supports the students’ goals and is integrated into the study programme
Planned hours and funding allocations
Planned hours are a fundamental element in the funding allocation process which uses data recorded in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and the school census. They are used to determine the proportion of students in each funding band which, in turn, determines the national funding rate per student. Errors in recording planned hours are likely to have an impact on an institution’s allocated funding. Accurate recording of planned hours is essential to ensure an institution’s funding allocation is calculated correctly.
Planned hours funded by the EFA
The activities in each student’s study programme in an academic year constitute the planned hours.
Each student’s planned hours are agreed between the institution and the student at the start of their study programme. You must record accurately all the qualification planned hours and the non-qualification planned hours. This data is used to calculate future funding allocations so it must accurately record what learning activities are being undertaken by each student.
To count for funding purposes, the planned hours must be timetabled, organised and/or supervised by the institution, and take place in line with the institution’s normal working pattern. For example they can include
- planned tutor led activity on courses leading to qualifications
- planned hours of tutorials, work experience or work preparation
- planned hours on other activities relevant to the student’s study programme that are organised and provided by the institution, such as sport or volunteering
Planned hours in a study programme are categorised as either qualification (planned learning hours) or non-qualification (planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours). All the hours in both categories need to be recorded accurately on the ILR or school census to avoid problems with future allocations. Both categories are added up to form the total hours of a study programme, and the total hours are used to calculate the funding allocation.
These are hours of teaching and learning that count towards qualifications that are approved for teaching to 16 to 19 year olds under section 96 (qualifications that are not approved under section 96 cannot be taught in schools).
Section 96 qualifications are identified on the Learning Aim Reference Service (LARS).
Non-qualification hours (employability, enrichment and pastoral hours)
These are hours of fundable activity that are not qualification based. These hours are also known as planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP hours).
There are many activities that are defined as EEP and all need to be recorded in your data returns in order to be funded. If you don’t record all the EEP activities on your data returns then your allocation could be less than it should be.
This includes hours where students are doing activities that
- do not count towards a qualification as defined above
- are for informal certificates or other non-qualification activity
- are for tutorial purposes
- are spent on work experience and other work-related activities
- are spent on enrichment, volunteering and/or community activities organised by or on behalf of the institution
Examples of activity that could count towards EEP hours provided they meet the criteria above are
- tutorials and any one to one sessions such as to plan study or revision
- mentoring and coaching
- revision hours, structured revision, exam test papers
- informal certificates such as citizenship awards or Duke of Edinburgh Award
- work experience and work related activity such as preparing CVs and practising interview skills and techniques
- field work or a piece of work such as a survey/research which is integral to the study programme, such as a field trip with a task attached
- completing applications such as for jobs or university where a tutor is supporting and helping the student
- employer visits arranged by the institution
- university visits arranged by the institution
- volunteering activities and community activities
- any activities that offer enrichment to the student and that are relevant to their study programme such as personal and social development
Examples of planned hours in a study programme
|Academic study programme activity||Planned hours (from timetable or learning plan)|
|A level 1||120|
|A level 2||100|
|A level 3||150|
|Vocational study programme activity||Planned hours (from timetable or learning plan)|
|Study programme activity for traineeships or internships||Planned hours (from timetable or learning plan)|
Examples of hours/activities that are not funded
The EFA does not fund hours that do not meet the criteria for funding or are not relevant to the student’s study programme. As a guide the EFA does not fund
- voluntary extra-curricular activities and clubs delivered during breaks or outside the normal working pattern
- study that is homework or independent study/research that is not timetabled
- time spent in employment and or work experience organised by anyone other than by or on behalf of the institution
- time spent on volunteering and/or community activities that are not organised by or on behalf of the institution
- retakes or resits (except for maths and English)
Planned hours and extra-curricular activity
Voluntary extra-curricular activities and clubs that operate during breaks or outside the institution’s normal working day cannot be included as part of the study programme, so no planned hours should be recorded for this type of activity.
Planned hours and informal certificates
Other activity leading to informal certificates such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award do not count towards qualification hours, but can count towards non-qualification hours (EEP). This applies to any informal certificates that might lead to an award but which are not formal qualifications approved for EFA funding.
Core aims and planned hours
The core aim of the study programme is agreed between the student and the institution. It is the principal or most important activity in the study programme and it will usually be the component with the largest number of planned hours. Study programmes can only have one core aim at a time. Identifying the core aim is a serious consideration and it should not simply be the first aim recorded.
The core aim must be either a qualification or work experience. Traineeships must have work experience as the core aim.
The core aim is used
- to determine whether the programme is academic or vocational
- to calculate the programme cost weighting
- to determine whether a student on a vocational study programme is retained on the programme or not
A levels in critical thinking and general studies cannot be core aims. However, the planned hours associated with them should be included in the total of the study programme hours, if they are delivered as part of the student’s study programme.
Planned hours and traineeships/internships
Traineeships and supported internships are a type of study programme and are funded in the same way as other study programmes. Both must have work experience as the core aim.
Planned hours include those where the student is doing their work experience as well any activity delivered within the institution. This includes learning that supports the student such as maths and English.
Intensive study programmes
In some exceptional circumstances a study programme can be delivered intensively, for example, long days over a few months. These compressed programmes enable students to complete a significant number of planned hours in a short period of time and should be linked to the need of the student to learn in this intensive way.
Compressed study programmes are funded at the standard funding rates based on planned hours. The EFA expects compressed study programmes to lead to excellent results, as demonstrated through qualification success rates and positive destinations. The EFA monitors the delivery and value for money of compressed programmes to determine whether or not to take a different approach to such provision in future.
Study programmes delivered in more than one academic year
Some students will need to have study programmes planned over more than one academic year (1st August to 31st July). The funding band for these students is determined by the number of planned hours assigned to them in each academic year. A student can be funded as full time in one year and part time in the next, or part time in both years. This will depend on the planned hours of the study programme within each academic year. Further information is available in the funding bands table.
Planned hours, study leave and examinations
Planned hours for activity undertaken away from the institution’s premises to revise and prepare for exams can be included in a study programme. This study leave must
- be planned
- be explicit in the student’s timetable
- be supervised and/or organised by a member of staff
Study leave should be time-limited. The weekly number of hours should not exceed the student’s planned weekly hours for the overall study programme. Planned hours for study leave can be included in each academic year.
The time when a student is taking the exam can also be included in the total planned hours.
Planned hours and retakes
Planned hours cannot normally be recorded for learning programmes designed to enable students to re-sit or retake examinations and assessments. These are not generally eligible for funding. This is because the institution has already been funded for the study programme including taking exams.
Where there are exceptional circumstances outside the control of the student or institution, such as a period of long term sickness, or good educational reasons, then the retake delivery hours for individual students may be included in the funded study programme hours.
Where a student fails to complete a learning aim in the expected time span and stays on for additional time, including revision sessions or re-sits, no further funding is due. No study hours should be included on the ILR or school census for students repeating learning or retaking examinations. Retakes in English and maths are fundable.
Planned hours and lunch breaks
Lunch breaks are not funded. Institutions should ensure that the planned hours exclude any lunch breaks. For example, if a student is planned to be at the institution from 10am until 4pm, and the institution regularly has a lunch break of 1 hour per student, then the planned hours recorded for that day are 5, not 6.
Planned hours and bank holidays
Planned hours should not include times when the institution is closed, for example Easter or Christmas breaks. The planned hours must accurately reflect the hours a student is planned to be in learning and that cannot include periods when the institution is closed. Planned hours should not be adjusted to take out bank holidays. We do not expect institutions to reduce planned hours for sessions that fall naturally on bank holidays.
Planned hours for full time and part time study programmes
The definition of full time and part time is based on the annual timetabled hours in academic year in the student’s study programme as set out in this table:
|Band||Annual timetabled hours in the academic year||Applies to|
|5||Full time||540+ hours||16 and 17 year olds. Students aged 18 and over with high needs|
|4a||Part time||450+ hours||Students aged 18 and over who do not have high needs|
|4b||Part time||450 to 539 hours||16 and 17 year olds. Students aged 18 and over with high needs|
|3||Part time||360 to 449||All students|
|2||Part time||280 to 359 hours||All students|
|1||Part time||Up to 279 hours||All students|
Maths and English condition of funding and planned hours
Students who do not have a grade C GCSE in maths and/or English or an equivalent qualification must study these subjects as part of their study programme each academic year, until they achieve a grade C. Planned hours for studying maths and English must be recorded in the ILR/School census for the students’ study programme.
Detailed information on the condition of funding including qualifications equivalent to GCSE is available.
Retakes in maths and English
Qualifications leading to a GCSE grade A*-C in maths and/or English where the student has not yet achieved a grade C in these subjects are not treated as retakes for funding purposes.
Recording planned hours
Planned hours are entered onto the ILR for FE and on the school census for schools and academies. All fundable qualification and non-qualification activity for the academic year must be recorded individually for each student.
Data returns must reflect, as accurately as possible, the hours that are planned for the student at the start of their study programme. These will be the hours clearly recorded on each student’s timetable or learning agreement. Planned hours should be recorded for each student even where a group of students are studying similar qualifications. For example, a group may all be studying the same qualification but it is unlikely that other aspects of their study programme will be the same: English, maths, hours for tutorials, or for work experience may all be different. In this instance a blanket number of planned hours should not be recorded for a whole group of students, each must have their own planned hours recorded individually. Following this principle will reduce problems with data and with funding allocations.
Institutions must make sure that the planned hours are realistic and deliverable for each student. They must have evidence of this for audit purposes and have systems in place that enable an easy reconciliation between student timetables and the planned hours recorded on the ILR/school census. The audit process will be quicker and simpler when it is easy to see how the evidence relates to the recorded planned hours.
Further information on audit is available in the funding regulations Annex B.
Timetabled hours for any activities that are not funded by the EFA must not be included on the ILR or school census. For example, a Saturday job.
Recording planned hours in the school census
You should enter the planned hours for each student in the current academic year. Record both planned hours for qualifications and planned hours for non-qualifications for each student for one academic year only. From autumn 2015 there is only one set of planned hours fields in the autumn census. These are to record planned hours for students in the current academic year. This is a change from the autumn 2014 census where institutions recorded 2 academic years’ planned hours (one set for the end of 2013 to 2014 and one set for the start of 2014 to 2015).
The table below shows the requirements from 2014 to 2016.
|Census||Fields||Planned hours returned for|
|Autumn 2014||Planned learning hours end of year||Students on roll in academic year 2013 to 2014|
|Autumn 2014||Planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours end of year||Students on roll in academic year 2013 to 2014|
|Autumn 2014||Planned learning hours||Students on roll in academic year 2014 to 2015|
|Autumn 2014||Planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours||Students on roll in academic year 2014 to 2015|
|Autumn 2015||Planned learning hours||Students on roll in academic year 2015 to 2016|
|Autumn 2015||Planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours||Students on roll in academic year 2015 to 2016|
|Autumn 2016||Planned learning hours||Students on roll in academic year 2016 to 2017|
|Autumn 2016||Planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours||Students on roll in academic year 2016 to 2017|
Changing planned hours
Institutions should not normally change planned hours during the year once the funding qualifying period has passed.
One exception is when students do more than one programme in a year. This applies to those who have completed all the activities on their first learning agreement or plan. The student may then start a second study programme and the institution must
- record a new core aim
- change the planned hours to reflect the additional delivery of hours for the new study programme
Another exception is where errors have occurred. These can be corrected.
As the school census is completed only once per academic year in October, planned hours cannot be changed by schools and academies after that date.
Recording planned hours for students who withdraw from their programme
When a student withdraws from a learning aim, and the funding qualifying period (usually 6 weeks for full time students) for the programme has passed, there is no need for the institution to change the planned hours.
When a student withdraws from a learning aim and the funding qualifying period for the programme has not passed, the planned hours should be changed if the ILR is no longer accurate. If the student does not start another qualification in place of the one withdrawn, then the hours must not be included in the planned hours.
When a student withdraws from all their learning aims and leaves the institution altogether, there is no need to change the planned hours. If the student leaves before completing the qualifying period for their programme, they will not count as a start for funding purposes. If they leave after completing the qualifying period, they will not count as retained and the institution’s retention factor will be negatively affected. For a student in school on an academic programme, as long as they are still in school for one of their aims then retention is not affected.
Students who withdraw from part of their study programme should make up the time with other meaningful activity, either qualification or non-qualification hours.
Recording planned hours for students who transfer from one aim to another
Transferring after the qualifying period
When a student transfers from one aim to another after the qualifying period, the planned hours for the programme must not be changed.
Transferring within the qualifying period
When a student transfers from one aim to another within the qualifying period, the planned hours can be changed. The new value for the planned hours will include
- the timetabled hours for continuing or completed aims
- the hours delivered for the aim that the student has transferred from
Students who transfer from one institution to another
When a student withdraws from the whole of their study programme at one institution and enrols at another within the same funding year, the first institution will receive funding as long as the student has passed the programme funding qualifying period. The second institution should record the student’s planned hours according to the number of hours in their study programme for the remainder of the year.
Students progressing from one study programme to another
Students who have completed all the activities on their first learning agreement or plan can start a second study programme. The institution must
- record a new core aim
- change the planned hours to reflect the additional delivery for the second study programme
Students who have already done a full time programme, and have therefore received full funding, will not get additional funding for further study programmes in the same academic year when they stay at the same institution.
Students progressing from a traineeship to another study programme
Students who progress from a traineeship to another study programme are in the same situation as students progressing from one study programme to another.
Audit and planned hours
As post-16 education is funded on planned hours, funding auditors will need to see an easy reconciliation between planned study hours on the ILR/school census and the hours on the student’s timetable.
Funding audit will continue to be focussed on the eligibility of the activity in study programmes ie that planned hours are relevant, planned, supervised, quality assured and organised/timetabled within the normal working pattern of the institution and, for example, do not systematically include lunch breaks.
Funding auditors will satisfy themselves that planned hours are credible, deliverable and realistic. Institutions will need to be able to demonstrate that a robust system is in place for planning student programmes which are timetabled, roomed (where relevant), have resources in place and align with staff timetables. There should be evidence that the significant majority of the students are attending the majority of their planned programme.
It is inevitable that some planned activities will not run and that some student’s individual plans will change in year, but we would not expect this to be the case for most students. Institutions should be monitoring, managing and reporting on student compliance with their study programmes and evidence of this should be made available to auditors as part of their programme of work.
Funding auditors will review individual student records and report where records indicate the institution’s systems are failing to monitor the delivery of study programmes.
Funding auditors will require changes to planned hours only where activity not eligible for funding is identified or systemic issues with determining and recording planned hours are identified. This may affect an institution’s funding. Auditors will be reporting to governing bodies any concerns that they uncover in the way the planned hours are being monitored and managed, and this should feed into a tightening up and improvement of the approach the institution takes for the following year as part of a clear action plan approved by the institutions’ audit committee.
We have published 2 examples on how the timetabled planned hours may be summarised to simplify the necessary funding audit evidence in funding regulations Annex B.
Checklist for planned hours fully eligible for funding
For planned hours to be eligible for funding they must meet the qualifying criteria planned hours. Institutions are advised to check that
- all activities are eligible for funding and that no hours are included unless it can be demonstrated that they are planned, timetabled, supervised and/or organised by a member of staff
- total planned hours should always agree with the respective timetable and/or the Individual Learning Plan (ILP)/Learning Agreement
- the timetable is credible, realistic and deliverable
- correct withdrawal and/or leave dates are recorded so that the qualifying period can be accurately assessed
- the core learning aim is clearly identified in the data return and in the learning agreement/timetable so that programme cost weightings and retention can be accurately assessed
Queries on planned hours
Contact form https://form.education...
For all enquiries for the Education Funding Agency
A new census tool to help sixth-forms understand data and allocations
We have produced a tool to help sixth-forms to understand the link between data submitted in the census and its use in allocations. We strongly encourage you to use the tool and to work through the examples to support you to complete the census accurately.
EFA funding guidance documents
The documents listed below outline the main features of the EFA funding arrangements and are an integral part of the EFA’s funding agreements for young people aged 16 to 19 and those aged 19 to 24 funded by the EFA. All these documents should be read in this context, unless specifically stated otherwise. The definitive EFA guidance for each year is published on these pages with the most recent year at the top of the webpage.
Funding guidance presentations
Presentations for institutions to use internally to audiences who are required to understand the funding procedures and guidance. These cover
Section 96 qualifications approved for teaching
AoC Study Programme Central
The AoC study programme central website has a range of useful information on study programmes for institutions
Content first published April 2015 Updated September 2016
Published: 23 April 2015
Updated: 25 August 2015
- Updated information added on the school census and new school census tool. Changes made to the lunch breaks and bank holiday section. More examples on non-qualification activity added.
- First published.