Full-time enrolment of 14 to 16 year olds in further education and sixth-form colleges

Information for further education and sixth-form colleges when directly enrolling 14 to 16 year olds for academic year 2022 to 2023.

Applies to England


Further education colleges and sixth-form colleges (colleges) are able to enrol and receive funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for students aged 14 to 16 years old. These students complete full-time study programmes. These include technical qualifications alongside general qualifications, including English and mathematics, within the key stage 4 curriculum.

For the purpose of this advice document references to colleges do not include academies which are outside of the scope of this provision.

This guide explains:

  • college and student eligibility criteria
  • statutory duties and other requirements colleges must follow
  • funding arrangements
  • intervention and performance measures
  • data collection and publication requirements

This guide is for:

  • college leaders and governing bodies
  • school leaders and governing bodies
  • local authorities
  • parents/carers and students

Existing arrangements for admitting 14 to 16 year olds by arrangement with schools, local authorities or parents/carers will continue and are not affected by this guidance. The funding arrangements for electively home-educated children are summarised in this guide. You can find more information in our funding regulations guidance in the sub-section ‘Students aged under 16’.

Timeline for delivery: 2022 to 2023 academic year

Key dates for 2022

Activity Date
Publication of 14 to 16 in colleges guide for 2022 to 2023 academic year 1 April 2022
Colleges confirm intent to directly recruit 14 to 16 years olds 1 August 2022
Funding agreements issued to colleges continuing with direct enrolment. Funding agreements for new colleges will be issued as soon as possible after college intent is confirmed to the ESFA By 31 July 2022
14 to 16 year olds enrol in colleges for start in September 2022 From 1 August 2022
Pupil premium and service premium data return made by colleges December 2022
College completes individualised learner record return (R04). This identifies the number of 14 to 16 year olds enrolled December 2022

Key dates for 2023

Activity Date
Allocation statements and contract variations issued to colleges February 2023
Payment of 7/12 of pupil premium to colleges By 31 March 2023
Payment of programme funding and remainder of pupil premium to colleges Between April 2023 and July 2023
Policy review and update of 14 to 16 in colleges guide By 31 March 2023
Ofsted inspection of 14 to 16 provision in colleges On-going

College eligibility: programme requirements

Expression of intent

Colleges intending to enrol students aged 14 to 16 years olds in 2022 to 2023 academic year should ensure they meet the programme eligibility criteria stated in this guide. They must inform Department for Education (DfE) of their intent by 1 August 2022.

The expression of intent must be submitted by the college principal and chair of governors, and must include a completed ‘readiness to open checklist (ODT, 15KB)’.

Colleges are expected to have discussed their intent to directly enrol 14 to 16 year olds with relevant local authorities before submitting their expression of intent.

DfE will consider expressions of intent received after the 1 August deadline on a case-by-case basis. Funding for the 14 to 16 cohort cannot be guaranteed where the deadline has been missed.

DfE will acknowledge expressions of intent and, provided the college meets the programme eligibility criteria, confirm the arrangements for funding this provision. DfE will also inform Ofsted of the colleges delivering the programme, and will publish a list of participating colleges in this guide.

The college must retain a copy of the expression of intent and completed readiness to open checklist and make it available for inspection if required by Ofsted or DfE.

Inspection-based eligibility criteria

Colleges intending to enrol and receive funding directly from ESFA for 14 to 16 year olds in 2022 to 2023 academic year must either have an Ofsted outstanding (grade 1) overall effective judgement or an Ofsted good (grade 2) overall effectiveness judgement.

Colleges with either an Ofsted requires improvement (grade 3) overall effectiveness judgement or an Ofsted inadequate (grade 4) overall effectiveness judgement are not eligible to receive funding directly from ESFA for students aged 14 to 16 years old.

Newly merged colleges that wish to commence a 14 to 16 programme

A newly merged college will not have an inspection grade in its own right. In cases of merger where the receiving college had an outstanding (grade 1) overall effectiveness judgement or good (grade 2) overall effectiveness judgement prior to the merger, the new institution meets the criteria on the basis of the pre-merger grade. If the grade of the receiving college prior to the merger had a requires improvement (grade 3) overall effectiveness judgement or an inadequate (grade 4) overall effectiveness judgement, it does not meet the criteria. In those cases the new institution will need to receive a good (grade 2) overall effectiveness judgement, or better in its own right, before it meets the criteria.

Dedicated 14 to 16 area within the college estate

While the education may take place all around the college, there should be a designated and identifiable area for the sole use, when appropriate, for the provision of education and support for 14 to 16 year olds. This area may be used for other students outside the time-tabled/usual hours that the 14 to 16 year olds use the area.

Dedicated 14 to 16 leadership

There must be an identifiable and qualified person responsible for leading the provision of education and responsible for pastoral support for the students. Further information about support for children and young people is available.

Break in programme delivery

If a participating college discontinues 14 to 16 delivery, and there is a break of one academic year or more, the college will be required to submit a new expression of intent and readiness to open checklist prior to recommencing 14 to 16 delivery.

Colleges subject to intervention from DfE

Colleges who are in intervention (for either financial or quality reasons) will not be eligible to receive ESFA funding for 14 to 16 year olds enrolled at the college. However, if a college is in intervention for financial health reasons, but has moved into post-intervention, monitoring, and support (PIMS), they will be eligible to apply providing that they meet the Ofsted grade criteria.

Arrangements for colleges planning a merger

DfE will support participating colleges where they intend to complete a planned merger. A merger may involve the dissolution of college corporation/s either:

  • where the activities of all colleges come together in a new college corporation (a ‘Type A’ merger) or
  • where the activity of one college corporation is acquired by another (a ‘Type B’ merger)

Where one of the predecessor colleges has an existing directly funded 14 to 16 cohort, DfE will consider whether to allow the merged college, whether a new or a continuing college, to continue this provision and if so will ensure the relevant funding arrangements are in place.

DfE will reserve the right to alter requirements subject to the specific circumstances of each merger. Please keep your territorial lead informed about any planned merger so we can consider how these arrangements apply to individual college circumstances.

Arrangements for college disaggregation

DfE will also support participating colleges where they intend to complete a planned disaggregation. A disaggregation may involve either:

  • a college transferring a portion of provision to one or more college(s). This does not involve any dissolution process and could involve the transfer of provision with or without site assets (for example, a college takes on a campus from another college. Both colleges continue to be operational and funded by ESFA)

  • a college is dissolving, and its provision/sites are being dispersed across one or more ‘receiving’ college(s) (such as, a college with 2 campuses is dissolving and 2 existing colleges take on a campus each)

Where the college that is disaggregating 14 to 16 year old student provision has an existing directly funded 14 to 16 cohort. DfE will work with the colleges involved to ensure that the responsibility for that provision transfers to the appropriate college and will ensure the relevant funding arrangements are in place.

For both arrangements, DfE will review a merger or disaggregation request on a case-by-case basis.

Student eligibility and enrolment, high needs students, admission appeals, attendance, exclusion requirements and residential accommodation

We publish 16 to 19 funding regulations each year and our full advice on 16 to 19 student eligibility is in section 3. This advice equally applies to 14 to 16 year old students attending further education and sixth-form colleges.

Student eligibility and enrolment

Participating colleges must ensure:

  • students are aged 14 or 15 years old on 31 August in the year in which they enrol at a participating college
  • parental/carer consent is obtained before students are enrolled. The college must retain a record of the parent/carer’s consent
  • parents/carers are advised that they should notify the student’s previous school that their child will be enrolled in college receiving education other than at school
  • ensure parents/carers are made aware they can get impartial advice, information, and support from the National Careers Service website
  • they follow this guidance in full, as a requirement of their funding agreement

ESFA will only fund 14 to 16 year old students enrolled and recorded on the individualised learner record (ILR) R04 return submitted by the college in December 2022. We will only count students who had started their programme on or before the R04 the reference date (1 November 2022), this is consistent with the approach taken for deriving 16 to 19 year olds eligible for funding.

Any 14 to 16 year old students enrolled and recorded after this date will not be funded by ESFA. This is because of the nature of the underlying funding mechanism, which involves a recharge to the dedicated schools grant. Where the college is approached to enrol 14 to 16 year old students after this point, it should negotiate an appropriate transfer of funding from either the school that the student attended from the start of the academic year, or in the case of 14 to 16 year old students arriving from overseas, from the relevant local authority.

High needs students

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to 25 years

The 2014 SEND Code of Practice explains the duties of schools and colleges to provide reasonable adjustments for, and auxiliary aids and services to children and young people with educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

This 0 to 25 SEND Code of Practice applies to colleges. To help colleges, a specific further education guide is available.

Colleges should anticipate the special educational needs (SEN) of students as much as possible, working with the feeder school and advance planning with the student and their family. This is the case for students on SEN support as well as those with education health and care (EHC) plans. Colleges may also undertake assessments themselves to identify the support students may need, and whether they may need to agree high needs funding with the student’s home local authority.

Colleges may enrol high needs students provided they satisfy the requirements in this guide and the following arrangements are in place.

High needs students with education health and care plans (EHC plans)

Where a student has an EHC plan at school, the parent/carer has the right to express a preference for a participating college to be named in the student’s plan. The local authority must consult the college about this, and if the college is named in the plan, then the college must admit that student.

High needs students who do not have an EHC plan

Colleges should find out from a student’s school about any already identified special educational needs and whether they have been identified as high needs. Where students have been identified already as having high needs, the student’s home local authority should be aware of them, and colleges should ask the local authority for any further information about their needs (they may, for example, have been assessed already for an EHC plan, even if they do not have one). The college should seek agreement from the home local authority for a high needs placement.

Some high needs may be identified after enrolment. Colleges have a duty under section 66 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to use their best endeavours to meet the special educational needs of their students, including 14 and 15 year olds. Where, despite the college having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the needs of the student within its existing budget, the student is still not making expected progress, the college should draw the student to the local authority’s attention, and consider requesting the local authority to conduct an EHC needs assessment.

Admission arrangements

Each participating college must publish their admission arrangements for their 14 to 16 provision. Admission arrangements should be published on the college website. This information should be accessible to students and parents/carers.

There must be no charge in respect of admission to the college of 14 to 16 year olds and the college will only charge such students where the law allows maintained schools to charge.

The college shall work collaboratively with appropriate local authorities both in promoting the college offer to full time 14 to 16 year olds, and in ensuring appropriate local authorities are made aware, in a timely manner, should an application to enrol be refused or an appeal against a refusal to enrol be unsuccessful.

Admissions appeals

The college should ensure that it has an admissions appeals process. The process should, as a minimum, include providing a right of appeal to an independent and impartial appeals panel clerked by someone with a sound understanding of admissions issues.


The college shall work collaboratively with appropriate local authorities in order to share information about attendance and/or absences (both authorised and unauthorised) as local authorities may deem necessary. Local authorities can then consider if it is necessary to take any action in light of their duties under sections 436A and 437 of the Education Act 1996, which relate to children of compulsory school age who may not be receiving suitable education.

Colleges should consider when to authorise an absence. There are some circumstances where a college would have no other option but to authorise an absence. These are when the student is unable to attend:

  • because of sickness or unavoidable cause
  • on a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which their parent/carer belongs

The college will decide when it is appropriate to remove a student from the college roll. The college should inform the relevant local authority immediately if a student is removed from their roll, as well as the grounds for the removal and the student’s contact address. Local authorities must then make alternative provision for the student’s education.

Colleges should have a policy on attendance that specifies when a student would be removed from the roll because of unauthorised absences.

This policy should be communicated to parents/carers and the college should send warning letters of its intention to remove the child if no improvements are made within a specified period.

Before removing a student from the roll because of absence, the college must be satisfied that the absence is not as a result of sickness or any unavoidable cause.


Legislation and statutory guidance on suspensions and permanent exclusions apply to: maintained schools; pupil referral units; and academies/free schools (other than 16 to 19 academies) and all pupils at these schools, including those who are above or below compulsory school age, for example, where a school also has a nursery or a sixth-form. The legislation and guidance on suspensions and permanent exclusions do not however, apply to stand-alone nurseries, independent schools (other than academies), sixth-form colleges, FE colleges, and other post-16 provision, which have their own arrangements for exclusion and suspension.

Colleges may wish to consider the statutory guidance on exclusion on suspensions and permanent exclusions as they apply to maintained schools as best practice when drafting the exclusions policy for full time 14 to 16 year olds. The college policy on exclusions should be published in a manner accessible to students and parents/carers.

The college must work collaboratively with the appropriate local authority, in a timely manner, in relation to all forms of suspensions and permanent exclusions that may be used in respect of students aged 14 to 16, notifying them of all suspensions and permanent exclusions and keeping an accurate record. Where a 14 to 16 year old student is to be suspended for more than 5 days or permanently excluded, the local authority in which the college is situated and the local authority where the pupil resides must be notified without delay, on the same day that the decision to suspend or permanently exclude is taken. This is to ensure that the relevant local authority is aware of its duty to provide education to pupils of compulsory school age who would not otherwise receive it.

In cases where a college excludes a student and that student subsequently attends elsewhere, ESFA expects the funding to follow that student.

Statutory duties, programme requirements, and programme advice

Statutory duties

Further and Higher Education Act 1992

At present colleges have various powers to provide secondary education to compulsory school age pupils. The powers are set out in the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (FHEA 1992): section 18(1) (aa)-(ac) for further education colleges and section 33E (1) (b)-(d) for sixth-form colleges.

They allow colleges to:

  • provide secondary education suitable to the requirements of persons who have reached the age of 14
  • provide education which is secondary education by virtue of section 2 (2B) Education Act 1996; and
  • participate in the provision of secondary education at a school

Colleges are required to consult such local authorities as they consider appropriate before exercising any of these powers – section 18 (1A), section 33E(3) of the FHEA 1992.

Colleges are also subject to the duty, pursuant to section 52A FHEA 1992, and subject to the Education (Secondary Education in Further Education Institutions) Regulations 1999, to ensure that students aged 14 to 16 years olds are not educated in the same room, at the same time, as a student aged 19 or over, without a teacher present in the room.

Programme requirements

Careers guidance

The college is required to secure independent careers guidance for all students up to and including the age of 18 (and 19 to 25 year olds with an EHC plan in place under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Independent careers guidance secured under the requirement should:

  • inform young people about the full range of education and training options available including approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships (including how the options relate to local and national skills needs)
  • be provided in an impartial manner
  • promote the best interests of the student to whom it is given

Colleges should review existing support and take steps to ensure this meets the needs of their 14 to 16 year old students. They should also check that the student has received sufficiently robust careers guidance prior to enrolling at college to ensure they are following the most appropriate learning pathway that builds on their prior attainment and enables them to develop clear, ambitious, and realistic plans for their future.

DFE has published statutory guidance for schools and colleges on providing careers guidance (PDF, 387KB), which colleges can use to support 14 to 16 year old students.


Participating colleges do not have to deliver the national curriculum, but the curriculum provided by the college to 14 to 16 year olds should be broad and balanced.

In addition:

  • the curriculum must include English, mathematics and science
  • the college must make provision for the teaching of religious education and for a daily act of collective worship for 14 to 16 year olds enrolled at the college
  • the college must make provision for the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education as provided under The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, and have regard to the associated guidance
  • the college should act in accordance with section 406 (political indoctrination) and 407 (duty to secure balanced treatment of political issues) Education Act 1996
  • the college must actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs

Meal provision

The college must, if requested to do so by a 14 to 16 year old student or their parent/carer, make provision for meals for those students unless it would be unreasonable for it to do so.

Free meals

In order to receive a free meal, students, or their parents, must be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits (student eligibility can be determined by reviewing the criteria). A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when a claim has been made on their behalf, and their eligibility has been verified by the college they attend or by the local authority. Where students are eligible for free meals, these should be provided by the college. The disadvantage element of 14 to 16 programme funding in part reflects the need for colleges to meet the cost of this provision.

Colleges should develop their own process for dealing with free meals applications. Some may wish to use a paper application form, whilst others may wish to provide an online application option.

Health and safety

The college must take such steps as are necessary to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of students whilst on work placement/work experience or other work-related activity either on or off the college premises.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. Guidance on Health and Safety is published by both the Health and Safety Executive and DfE for colleges to access.

Publication of information

Schools and colleges must publish specific information on their websites. These requirements are set out in the School Information Regulations for maintained schools and in individual funding agreements for academies and colleges.

Full guidance on what academies, free schools and colleges should publish online is available.


All students are entitled to have a safe environment in which they can learn, and nothing is more important than safeguarding students and promoting their welfare. It is essential that everybody working at the college understands their safeguarding responsibilities. Colleges must ensure that they have appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place to ensure that students are protected from harm.

  • keeping children safe in education (KCSIE). Colleges must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children receiving education or training at the college, including information on how to deal with allegations made against/ concerns raised in relation to people who work with children. Allegations that may meet the harms threshold such as, who have behaved in a way that has harmed a child; may have harmed a child; possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children and/or behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children. Also, allegations/concerns that do not meet the harms threshold – referred to in KCSIE as ‘low level concerns’. For the purposes of this guidance children includes everyone under the age of 18 ‘(and 19 to 25 year olds with an EHC plan in place under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014)
  • working together to safeguard children sets out the legislative requirements placed on individual services, organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children

In addition, we strongly recommend that governing bodies read and follow the advice: sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges. This guidance sets out:

  • what sexual violence and harassment is
  • colleges’ legal responsibilities
  • a whole college approach to safeguarding and child protection
  • how to respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment

Programme advice

Electively home educated 14 and 15 year olds

Colleges sometimes admit children aged 14 or 15 who are being electively home educated, to take courses on an infill basis by arrangement with the local authority or with the parents/carers. Where these courses are approved for delivery to 14 to 16 year olds and are at level 3, they are funded by entering the student on the ILR and the student then counts for lagged funding in just the same way as if they were 16 to 18 year olds.

Prior to September 2013, students on courses below level 3 were funded either directly by the local authority, or sometimes by the parents/carers, paying a fee to the college. These arrangements changed with effect from September 2013. Colleges now enter these students on the ILR and they count towards the college’s student numbers for lagged funding in the following year. The courses must be approved for funding to 14 to 16 year olds, which can be checked using the find a learning aim service and ensuring that the course is eligible in the 14 to 16 ESFA funding stream.

These students can only be enrolled and funded for part time courses – if an institution recruits them for full time courses, then they are no longer home educated, and the institution will need to meet the criteria for direct recruitment

Local authorities and parent/carers should no longer be expected to pay fees for this provision.

Colleges may make such local arrangements, as they deem appropriate. There is no national prescribed model for provision to these students and they do not form a part of the arrangements for the full-time enrolment of 14 to 16 year olds in further education and sixth-form colleges. Further information on elective home education and further guidance for local authorities is available.

Employment of children

The college should abide by guidance published on GOV.UK in relation to the employment of children.

Home to school transport

Children of compulsory school age (meaning those aged 5 to 16) are eligible for free home to school transport in certain circumstances. However, students aged 14 to 16 who enrol at a participating college will not be eligible because colleges are not qualifying schools for home to school transport purposes. Local authorities may choose to provide free transport for such students, but they are not obliged to do so.

Statutory guidance on home to school transport is available. Students, parents, and carers can find out about their local authority’s home to school transport arrangements via GOV.UK.

Funding arrangements for the 2022 to 2023 academic year

Programme funding

Funding will be calculated using the 16 to 19 funding methodology and national funding rate as described below. However, there is some adjustment to accommodate elements of funding that are not specific to this age group.

The 16 to 19 funding formula

(Student numbers x National funding rate per student x Retention factor x Programme cost weighting x Disadvantage funding) x Area cost uplift = total programme funding.

Funding formula applied to directly recruited 14 to 16 year olds

(Student numbers x National funding rate per student (£4,542) x Retention factor (x1) x Programme cost weighting (uplift of 4%) + Disadvantage funding (Block 1 - as per 16 to 19 factor, Block 2 - index of multiple deprivation (IMD) used as proxy f)) x Area cost uplift (as per 16 to 19 uplift) = Total programme funding.

Retention factor

A retention factor of 1 will be used in the funding formula for 14 to 16 year olds, as this is not applicable to pre-16 students.

Programme cost weighting

A cost weighting is applied to recognise that some subjects are more expensive to teach than others. The most applicable cost weighting for this type of provision is 20%, therefore a cost weighting of 4% (one fifth of 20%) is to be applied to 14 to 16 year olds.

Disadvantage funding

Disadvantage funding is made up of 2 blocks: one to account for students’ economic deprivation and another to account for low prior attainment in English and mathematics.

Block 1: economic deprivation funding

Block 1 funding recognises that there are additional costs incurred in engaging, recruiting, and retaining young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Whether a student is eligible for block 1 funding is determined by their home postcode and the level of deprivation recorded for that area in the index of multiple deprivation (IMD) 2015. Reference should be made to ESFA funding rates and formula for a full explanation on IMD. The same Block 1 factor applied to 16 to 19 funding will be used for 14 to 16 funding.

For 16 to 19 funding block 1 also gives an additional amount of funding for students who are in or have recently left care. This is not applicable for 14 to 16 year olds as those students who are in or have recently left care will receive pupil premium funding.

Block 2: GCSE mathematics and English using index of multiple deprivation (IMD) as a proxy

Block 2 funding accounts for the additional costs incurred for teaching students who have low prior attainment. However, as most 14 and 15 year olds will not have started or achieved English and/or mathematics GCSE, the proportion of students eligible for IMD in calculation of block 1 will be used to generate the block 2 percentage. The number of students attracting block 2 funding is multiplied by £1,008.

Funding for high needs students

We use the 16 to 19 funding methodology for the implementation of the 14 to 16 year olds FE program. This means that the post 16 funding arrangements set out in the 2022 to 2023 high needs operational guidance apply to 14 to 16 year olds in FE with high needs. For more information on high needs funding, contracting and special educational needs (SEN) reforms please review the high needs funding arrangements 2022 to 2023.

Additional funding

Pupil premium and service premium

Colleges should include a question in their enrolment process that allows a student or their parent/carer to identify eligibility for pupil premium and/or the service child premium. The criteria include:

  • whether the child is currently claiming a free meal
  • whether the child was recorded as claiming a free meal at any point in the past six years
  • whether the child is in care, or has been adopted, or left care through a specific court order

The college will submit a return detailing the pupils eligible for pupil premium and/or service premium to DfE in December in the prescribed format. The college must see and retain copies of the evidence of entitlement to free meals for a period of 6 years from the end of the year in which the provision for food was made.

The payment of the pupil premium grant is subject to the conditions detailed in these Requirements of Funding and the pupil premium conditions of funding grant. The timeline for delivery in this guide sets out when payments for the pupil premium and service premium will be paid.

An example letter that colleges may wish to use to write out to parents and carers is provided below.

Data collection

Performance data

Data on 14 to 16 student examination performance will be routinely collected in the same way as 16 to 18 student performance and will be published in the DfE performance tables. The Performance of 14 to 16 provision is measured using DFE’s key stage 4 performance measures. Information about how key stage 4 performance measures, including Progress 8 and Attainment 8, are calculated, including worked examples and diagrams, can be found in the secondary accountability measures guide.

Performance relating to 14 to 16 students directly enrolled in colleges was reported in the 2015 key Stage 4 performance tables for the first time in January 2016. The most recent attainment data for 14 to 16 provision was published in the key stage 4 performance (2021) statistical release publication on 4 November 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DfE did not publish institution level 2020 to 2021 performance data based on results in GCSEs, AS levels, A levels, other regulated general qualifications, or vocational and technical qualifications. DfE performance tables published in 2021 included information on subjects and qualifications students took at key stage 4 and 16 to 18, including, at key stage 4, the proportion entered for the EBacc combination of subjects; as well as data on well schools and colleges supported students to their next destination.

Individualised learner record and funding for 14 to 16 year olds

There are 2 learning delivery monitoring (LDM) codes for use on the ILR:

  • LDM code 320 (14 to 16 ESFA direct funded students)
  • LDM code 321 (14 to 16 home-educated students)

Only students recorded using LDM code 320 will be used to determine direct 14 to 16 funding. LDM code 320 should only be used to identify those students who are directly enrolled, and should not be used to identify any other 14 to 16 year olds for example:

  • home-educated students
  • students who have already achieved a level 2 qualification and are choosing to enrol on a full level 3 course
  • students enrolled in a school but studying part time in college

Students who are recorded using LDM code 321 will count as lagged students for funding purposes.

Bespoke data collection for free meals and the pupil premium

Participating colleges are required to submit this data to DfE. We will use the data to calculate pupil premium and service child premium funding. We will collect this information using a bespoke data return in December 2022.

Pupil premium and service child premium allocations for delivery in 2022 to 2023 academic year (the final 7 months of the financial year 2021 to 2022 and the first five months of the 2022 to 2023 financial year) will be based on the information submitted by colleges in December 2022. Pupil premium funding rates for 2022 to 2023 financial year have not yet been confirmed. Further information on pupil premium eligibility is available in the additional funding section – pupil premium section of this guide.

School to school service

The school to school (S2S) system allows schools, further education and sixth-form colleges (directly recruiting 14 to 16 year-olds), and local authorities to securely share student information. Information on how schools and local authorities should send student records and other information is published on GOV.UK.

Colleges who have expressed their interest, and are directly recruiting 14 to 16 year olds, will be provided with access to the school to school service (S2S) via DfE Sign-In (DSI). S2S can be used by schools and colleges to transfer student information in a secure electronic environment. The school to school guidance is published on GOV.UK.

Colleges directly recruiting 14 to 16 year olds can request a secure access account using the secure access service request form.


The detailed guide college oversight: support and intervention sets out how the government will support and intervene to improve financial resilience and quality in colleges.

This includes:

  • the Ofsted inadequate trigger
  • the inadequate financial health and/or control trigger

Ofsted inspection

Please note that Ofsted introduced a new inspection framework in September 2019. 14 to 16 full-time provision in colleges is subject to Ofsted inspection and will be inspected under Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework (EIF). Ofsted’s further education and skills handbook provides information on how 14 to 16 provision is inspected.

Financial health and financial control

DfE complete regular assessments of college financial health and financial control. The college financial planning handbook sets out the DfE’s financial planning requirements for sixth-form (SF) and further education (FE) college corporations. Further information on DfE financial health assessment processes is published on the college financial planning handbook and financial plan.

Guidance for sixth form and FE colleges on preparing and submitting their annual report and financial statements ‘accounts’ to DfE is available.

Intervention action

Where a college meets the criteria for intervention described in this guide, or fails to comply with the conditions set out in the college’s Funding Agreement, DfE will act in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Funding Agreement and any applicable policy.

The college’s 14 to 16 delivery will be an important, but proportionate, consideration as part of any intervention process.

Should a college be placed in intervention, DfE may use a range of actions, including but not limited to:

  • requiring the college to accept and comply with additional conditions in relation to 14 to 16 funding
  • requiring the college to cease or suspend the further recruitment of 14 to 16 year olds and/or cap any growth in 14 to 16 student numbers

Where applicable, the college is expected to work with DfE, the Further Education Commissioner and/or Ofsted to make the required improvement which might include its 14 to 16 activity.

Additional information requests

Notwithstanding any other provision of ESFA conditions of funding, the Secretary of State for Education, acting reasonably, may from time to time call for information, relating to the 14 to 16 year olds enrolled at the college, on:

  • curriculum
  • arrangements for the assessment of students
  • class sizes
  • the operation of the admission process and any arrangements that the college have for over subscription
  • the number of students excluded (including permanent and fixed term exclusions)
  • levels of authorised and unauthorised absence
  • or any other aspect of this provision

Review date

This guide will be reviewed in March 2023 with additional updates made in-year as required.

Institutions intending to enrol 14 to 16 year olds in 2022 to 2023 academic year

Northern England
Bishop Auckland College
Hull College
Leeds City College
TEC Partnership
Hugh Baird College
East Durham College
Tyne Coast College
Barnsley College
Midlands and East
South and City College Birmingham
Hereward College of Further Education
Southern England
South Devon College
New City College
West Thames College
East Kent Group
North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT)
Published 14 July 2017
Last updated 1 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated for the 2022 to 2023 academic year.

  2. Updated for 2021 to 2022 academic year

  3. Updated page with information on catch-up premium in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  4. Updated for 2020 to 2021.

  5. We have updated information on college mergers and disaggregation

  6. Barnsley College has been added to the Institutions intending to enrol 14 to 16-year-olds in 2019 to 2020 academic year list.

  7. Updated for 2019 to 2020 academic year.

  8. The list of participating colleges has been updated.

  9. Full-time enrolment of 14- to 16-year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges has been updated for 2018 to 2019.

  10. Updated college name following South Tyneside College merging with Tyne Metropolitan College on 1st August 2017.

  11. South and City College Birmingham has been added to the Midlands and East section of the institutions intending to enrol 14 to 16-year-olds in 2017 to 2018 academic year.

  12. First published.