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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Entitlement: CTC entitlement: definitions of education, approved training and a qualifying body

Full-time education
Treated as being in full-time education
Non-advanced education
Advanced education
Definition of a ‘qualifying body’
Approved training
Interruptions to full-time education and approved training

Full-time education

The Child Tax Credits Regulations 2002, Regulation 2(1)

Full-time education is education in pursuit of a course where the time spent exceeds or exceeds on average 12 hours a week in normal term time:

  • receiving instruction or tuition
  • undertaking supervised study
  • taking exams
  • engaging in practical work
    or
  • taking part in any exercise, experiment or project for which provision is made in the curriculum of the course

Note: Any education received as part of their job or official position held by them, does not satisfy the Child Tax Credit conditions for full-time education

Example: A young person is engaged in full-time non-advanced education for an average of 9 hours per week and as a member of the Student Union she works as editor for the Union paper.  As part of her duties as editor, the Union pay for her to go on a FTNAE course to benefit this role.  This course is for an average of 5 hours per week.  The ‘official position’ can be seen as their role in the Union and the course is provided by the Union to help with this role.  So the time spent in FTNAE provided by the Union in this example would not count as ‘qualifying’ and as such should be excluded for the purposes of CTC.

Treated as being in full-time education

The Child Tax Credits Regulations 2002, Regulation 5(5)(a)(b)(5A)

A person is treated as being in full-time education if they are undertaking a full-time education course

  • at a school or college,
  • at their home, where that person was receiving that education as a child (under 16), and the education was approved by the Board Or

  • as part of a Study Programme in England*

*Example: *Jane is 17 years old and is taking her A levels.  She has been home tutored from the age of 14 and continues to be so.  The claimant would still be entitled to claim CTC for Jane as she was receiving home education elsewhere before her 16th birthday.

*Note: *A person continues to be treated as being in full-time education during the period between the ending of one course and the commencement of another, where that person has enrolled on and commences the latter course.

*Study Programme – From Sept 2013 students in England aged 16 to 19 have been provided with full-time education in the form of Study Programmes, which include traineeships in England.  Study Programmes are to be treated as full-time non-advanced education as long as they are approved within section 4 of the Education and Skills Act 2008. Study programmes do not have to take place at a school, college or at home.  

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 5(6)

In calculating the time spent in pursuit of a course do not take account of time spent on

  • meal breaks
  • unsupervised study or homework which is undertaken outside normal study hours whether on or off the premises where the education is taking place.

Non-advanced education

Non-advanced education includes:

  • ‘A’ levels, or similar qualifications (eg. the International Baccalaureate and Pre-U)
  • Scottish national qualifications at higher or advanced higher level
  • NVQ at Level 3
  • study programme in England
  • national diploma
  • ordinary national diploma
  • national certificate of edexcel

If the young person is studying for a course that is not classed as advanced education, the education is normally treated as non-advanced.

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 5(2)

CTC can be paid for a qualifying young person up to and including the last day they undertake full-time non-advanced education, approved training or they reach age 20, whichever is the sooner, providing they meet all the other qualifying conditions.

Advanced education

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 2(1)(a)(b)

A person is receiving advanced education if they are studying a course for the purposes of:

  • preparation for a degree
  • a diploma of higher education
  • a higher national diploma
  • a higher national certificate of Edexcel
  • a teaching qualification
  • any other course which is a standard above what is considered by the Child Tax Credit Regulations to be ‘non-advanced’

Studying both non-advanced and advanced education

A young person undertaking both a non-advanced and advanced educational course will continue to meet the qualifying conditions providing the non-advanced education is full-time.

Note: Where a qualifying young person intends to continue their full-time education but at advanced level CTC can be paid to:

  • the last day of the academic year (31 August)
    or
  • if before 31 August, the date the young person changed their mind and decided not to continue their education

Example

A claimant telephones on 27 August to inform tax credits that her daughter has found work.  The claimant states that although her daughter had originally intended to go to university, following her exam results she had decided to look for a job instead and has now found work.  She is asked what date her daughter made the decision to look for work and not go to university.  This date is given as the 21 August.  CTC can therefore be paid to the 20 August.

Definition of a ‘qualifying body’

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 2(1)

Qualifying body means

  • the Careers or Connexions Service
  • the Ministry of Defence
  • in Northern Ireland, the Department of Employment and Learning or an Education and Library Board established under article 3 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986
  • any corresponding body in a member state where Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71 and Regulation (EC) No 883/2004(h) of the European Parliament and of the Council applies

The Careers Service means

  • In England and Wales, a person with whom the Secretary of State or the National Assembly of Wales has made an arrangement under section 10(1) of the Employment Act, and a local education authority to whom the Secretary of State or the National Assembly of Wales has given a direction under section 10(2) of that Act
    or
  • In Scotland, a person with whom the Scottish Ministers have made arrangements under section 10(1) of the Employment Act, and any education authority to which a direction has been given by the Scottish Ministers under section 10(2) of that Act

The Connexions Service means

  • A person with whom the Secretary of State has made an arrangement under section 114(2)(a) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and section 10(1) of the Employment Act  and any person to whom the Secretary of State has given a direction under section 114(2)(b) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 and section 10(2) of the Employment Act

The Ministry of Defence means

  • A person who has applied for, or is waiting to join the armed forces and has registered this interest with the Ministry of Defence

Approved training

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 2(1)

“Approved training” has the meaning given by Regulation 1(3) of the Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006;

  • Wales arrangements made by the Secretary of State under section 2 of the Employment & Training Act 1973:

 

  • ‘Foundation Apprenticeships’ or ‘Traineeships’

 

  • Scotland made by the Scottish Ministers under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973, or by Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise under section 2 of the Enterprise and New Towns (Scotland) Act 1990:

 

  • ‘Employability Fund’ programmes

 

  • Northern Ireland, made by the Department for Employment and Learning under section 1 of the Employment and Training Act (Northern Ireland) 1950:

 

  • ‘Training for Success’
    And
  • ‘PEACE IV Children and Young People 2.1’* Unlike non-advanced education, there is no requirement to attend approved training for a minimum number of hours.

    Note: In England there is no ‘Approved training’ as defined by the Child Benefit regulations, there is however, a form of training in England, provided as part of a Study programme, which for Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit purposes is treated as full-time non-advanced education.

    *From 1st June 2017

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 5(3)(ab)

Training must not be provided under a contract of employment.

Interruptions to full-time education and approved training

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Regulation 5(7)(a)(b)

Interruptions to full-time education and approved training may be disregarded by HMRC

  • for up to 6 months
    or
  • for any period, where the interruption is due to illness or disability of the mind or body

Interruptions in full-time education and approved training due to circumstances beyond the claimants control can be considered where the child or QYP is temporarily unable to attend full-time education or approved training. 

There must always be an intention to continue in full-time education or approved training prior to the interruption.

Examples of interruptions up to 6 months are:

  • Temporary closure of school
  • Moving house
  • School holidays
  • Temporary suspension of school transport
  • Contact with infectious diseases
  • Death in the child’s home
  • Pregancy of the child/QYP
  • Illness of mind/body or disability of the child/QYP (including domestic violence/abuse).