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 2020 to 2021.


A catch-up premium in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) will be available for students aged 14 to 16 who are enrolled at a college. Further details about this allocation can be found in the additional funding section of this page.


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 that include technical qualifications alongside general qualifications, including English and mathematics, within the Key Stage 4 curriculum.

This guide explains college and student eligibility criteria, the statutory duties and other requirements colleges must follow, funding arrangements, intervention and performance measures, and 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 under 16’

Timeline for delivery: 2020 to 2021 academic year

Key dates for 2020

Activity Date
Publication of 14 to 16 in colleges guide for 2020 to 2021 academic year 5 May 2020
Colleges confirm intent to directly recruit 14 to 16 years olds 1 August 2020
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 2020
14 to 16 year olds enrol in colleges for start in September 2020 From 1 August 2020
Pupil premium and service premium data return made by colleges December 2020
College completes Individualised Learner Record return (R04) – this identifies the number of 14 to 16 year olds enrolled December 2020

Key dates for 2021

Activity Date
Allocation statements and contract variations issued to colleges February 2021
Payment of 7/12 of pupil premium to colleges By 31 March 2021
Payment of programme funding and remainder of pupil premium to colleges between April 2021 and July 2021
Policy review and update of 14 to 16 in colleges guide By 31 March 2021
Ofsted Inspection of 14 to 16 provision in colleges On-going

College eligibility requirements

Expression of intent

Colleges intending to enrol students aged 14 to 15 years olds in 2020 to 2021 academic year should ensure they meet the programme eligibility criteria stated in this guide, and inform ESFA of their intent by 1 August 2020.

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

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.

ESFA 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.

ESFA will acknowledge expressions of intent and, provided the college meets the programme eligibility criteria, confirm the arrangements for funding this provision. ESFA 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 ESFA.

Inspection-based eligibility criteria

Colleges intending to enrol and receive funding directly from the ESFA for 14 to 16 year olds in 2020 to 2021 academic year must have either an Ofsted grade 1 (outstanding) or grade 2 (good).

Colleges with either an Ofsted grade 3 (requires improvement) or grade 4 (inadequate) are not be eligible to receive funding directly from the 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 or merger where the receiving college was a grade 1 or 2 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 was a 3 or 4 it does not meet the criteria; in those cases the new institution will need to receive a grade 2 or better for overall effectiveness 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 or 14 to 16 centre 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 leader accountable for leading the education and pastoral support of ESFA funded 14 to 16 provision and students. Further information about support for children and young people is published on GOV.UK.

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 formal intervention from ESFA

Colleges with a current Notice to Improve or Notice of Concern (collectively referred to as “notice”) for any reason, from the ESFA (or predecessor agencies) will not be eligible to receive ESFA funding for 14 to 16 year olds enrolled at the college.

Arrangements for colleges planning a merger

The ESFA 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 it is acquired by another (a ‘Type B’ merger)

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

Please keep your local ESFA lead informed about any planned merger. Once the merger is confirmed, please complete and return the appropriate ESFA documentation provided by the local ESFA lead. This ensures the ESFA can consider, based on the individual college circumstances, how to apply the appropriate arrangements ahead of the merger happening. Please note the ESFA will reserve the right to alter requirements subject to the specific circumstances of each merger.

Arrangements for college disaggregation

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

  • a college is 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 the 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 provision has an existing directly funded 14 to 16 cohort. The ESFA will work with the colleges involved to ensure that the responsibility for that provision transfers to the appropriate college and ensure the relevant funding arrangements are in place.

For both arrangements. The ESFA 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

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 they are legally required to 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
  • that they follow this guidance in full, as a requirement of their funding agreement

ESFA will only fund 14 to 16 students enrolled and recorded on the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) R04 return submitted by the college in December 2020. We will only count students who had started their programme on or before the R04 the reference date (1 November), 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 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 published on GOV.UK.

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 can 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 the 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 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 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 exclusion legislation and guidance 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 exclusion arrangements.

Colleges may wish to consider the statutory guidance on exclusion as they apply to maintained schools as best practice when drafting the exclusions policy of the college for full time 14 to 16 year olds. The college exclusion policy 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 exclusion that may be used in respect of students aged 14 to 16, notifying them of all exclusions and keeping a record of such exclusions. Where a 14 to 16 year old student is to be excluded for more than 5 days or permanently, 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 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, the 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 relevant regulations, to ensure that students aged 14 to 16 years old are not educated in the same room, at the same time, as a learner aged 19 or over.

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, and
  • 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 young person 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.

The DfE has published guidance for further education and sixth-form colleges (revised October 2018), relating to their careers requirement.

The DfE has also published statutory guidance for schools on careers guidance and inspiration, 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 must 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 detailed on GOV.UK). 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. For more information visit the HSE guidance.

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

Publication of Information

Participating colleges must publish a link to the DfE performance tables on their website. Colleges must also publish the following information on their website:

  • participating colleges must publish a link to the DfE performance tables on their website. Colleges must also publish the following information on their website:
  • the college’s Progress 8 score
  • the percentage of students who entered the English Baccalaureate
  • the destinations of students after key stage 4
  • the percentage of students who have achieved a grade 5 or above in English and maths at the end of key stage 4
  • the college’s Attainment 8 score
  • the college’s English Baccalaureate Average Point Score (APS)
  • the college should also do one of the following:
  • publish a copy of the college’s most recent Ofsted report
  • publish a link to the webpage where users can find your college’s most recent Ofsted report
  • participating colleges are also required to publish annually information in relation to:
  • the amount of the pupil premium received – this should be updated throughout the year
  • its planned use of the pupil premium grant
  • what it spent its pupil premium grant on the previous financial year
  • the impact on educational attainment arising from expenditure of the previous financial year’s pupil premium grant

Full guidance on what information colleges should publish is available on GOV.UK.


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

  • keeping Children Safe in Education. This guidance supports colleges when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children including how to deal with allegations against people who work with children 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. For the purposes of this guidance children includes everyone under the age of 18
  • 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; and how to respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment.

Programme advice

Electively home educated 14 to 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 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.

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 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 is provided on GOV.UK. Further guidance for local authorities is also published on GOV.UK.

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 (such as, those aged 5 to 16) are eligible for free home to school transport in certain circumstances. However, students aged 14 to16 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 on GOV.UK. Students, parents, and carers can find out about their local authority’s home to school transport arrangements on GOV.UK.

Funding arrangements for the 2020 to 2021 academic year

Programme funding

Funding for 14 to 16 year olds 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 (£4,188) 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 learner 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 £960.

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 2020 to 2021 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 2020 to 2021 on GOV.UK.

Additional funding

Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium

Children and young people across the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up. This includes a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year to ensure that institutions have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time. More information on how the catch-up premium applies in schools and academies is available on GOV.UK. We will allocate the catch-up premium for students aged 14 to 16 in further education and sixth form colleges in a similar way, but based on a single payment based on in-year data rather than three instalments. We will calculate the catch-up premium for 14 to 16 provision in colleges using 2020 to 2021 ILR R04 data. The number of 14 to 16 funded students identified from the ILR will be multiplied by £80 to give a final catch up premium allocation The catch-up premium we be paid in full in March 2021.

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
  • whether the child is classed as a ‘service child’ as defined in the
  • Pupil Premium Conditions of Grant

The college will submit a return detailing the pupils eligible for pupil premium and/or service premium to ESFA 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 here.

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 on GOV.UK. 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 Progress 8 guidance published on GOV.UK.

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 performance data for 14 to 16 provision was published in DFE 2019 performance tables on GOV.UK on 23rd of January 2020

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 ESFA. 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 2020.

Pupil premium and service child premium allocations for delivery in 2020 to 2021 academic year (the final 7 months of the financial year 2019 to 2020 and the first five months of the 2020 to 2021 financial year) will be based on the information submitted by colleges in December 2020. Pupil premium funding rates for 2020 to 2021 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 (S2S)

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. Further information, advice, and guidance can be accessed via the DfE Sign-In help page, using the main DSI page link.


The DfE has published 16 to 19 accountability measures on GOV.UK. This page explains the measures used to determine formal intervention and the range of intervention actions available to ESFA. These measures and intervention actions apply to colleges directly recruiting 14 to 16 year olds and include:

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

Ofsted inspection

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

Financial health and financial control

ESFA complete regular assessments of college financial health and financial control. Further information on ESFA financial health assessment processes is published on the 16 to 19 education: financial management and assurance page on GOV.UK.

Information about special financial accountability arrangements to support colleges merging as part of the area review programme are published on GOV.UK.

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, the ESFA 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 receive a notice to improve after funding commences ESFA may, as it deems necessary, take steps including but not limited to:

  • the college to accept and comply with additional conditions in relation to the 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 Ofsted’s improvement HMI 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 2021 with additional updates made in-year as required.

Institutions intending to enrol 14 to 16 year olds in 2020 to 2021 academic year

Northern England
Bishop Auckland College
Hull College
Leeds City College
Grimsby Institution of Further and Higher Education
Hugh Baird College
East Durham College
Tyne Coast College
Barnsley College
Midlands and East
South and City College Birmingham
Southern England
South Devon College
New City College
West Thames College
East Kent Group
Published 14 July 2017
Last updated 23 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated page with information on catch-up premium in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  2. Updated for 2020 to 2021.

  3. We have updated information on college mergers and disaggregation

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

  5. Updated for 2019 to 2020 academic year.

  6. The list of participating colleges has been updated.

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

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

  9. 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.

  10. First published.