Vocational Education: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th March 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he is planning to review the methods of assessing the financial health of training providers in receipt of funding from the ESFA.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We continue to keep our approach to managing the sector’s financial position under review and update our guidance to reflect changing financial standards and prevailing economic conditions. Our guidance is freely available for public scrutiny.

A small team of highly experienced contract managers has been set up to focus on delivering enhanced monitoring and oversight of the top, approximately, 30 largest and most complex independent training providers. This work includes a more in-depth understanding and monitoring of these providers’ future strategy and financial position so that the likelihood and impact of large-scale provider failure is reduced.

As part of the flagship apprenticeship provision, organisations new to apprenticeship delivery are subject to an early monitoring regime. To maximise successful provision overall, we offer enhanced financial monitoring to organisations we perceive may be in financial difficulty.

Access to apprenticeship delivery is strictly controlled and targets not only an organisation’s financial status, but also its assessed ability to deliver and the grades awarded by Ofsted.

Ofsted inspects further education providers in line with its published ‘frequency of inspection guidance’ determined by the provider’s previous grade. Ofsted also uses a broad range of information to assess risk and performance when selecting providers for inspection.

The ESFA sets out in its guidance and removal from the register of apprenticeship training providers guidance what action may be taken if there is a poor Ofsted outcome.

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