ESFA 2021/22 Funding Rule Changes

A summary of the latest funding rule changes and what they'll mean for you as a training provider

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Residency eligibility

Post-Brexit residency eligibility has been updated. Key categories are:

  • UK Nationals & individuals with the Right to abode in the UK – require having been ordinarily resident in the UK, British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies for at least 3 years before the start of the apprenticeship.
  • UK Nationals living in the EEA – require having been ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for at least the previous 3 years before the start of apprenticeship.
  • Irish Nationals – require having been ordinarily resident in the UK, Ireland, or the EEA for at least 3 years before the start of the apprenticeship.
  • EEA nationals in UK – require settled or pre-settled status and lived in UK or EEA for at least 3 years before the start of the apprenticeship.
  • Non-UK or EEA Nationals – require having been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years before the start of the apprenticeship.


End Point Assessment

The employer and provider must ensure that dialogue with the End Point Assessment Organisation  (EPAO) must commence at least 6 months before the planned end date.

At least 6 months before planned end date, the employer and provider must have selected an EPA organisation to deliver the EPA and negotiated a price with the EPAO.


Learning Support Funding

Learning support needs assessments should not form part of the generic enrolment process for all learners. An assessment should be undertaken where the apprentice has:

  • A diagnosed learning difficulty or disability; or
  • Where the main provider has identified a learning difficulty or disability during the programme, where no official diagnosis is present.

Where learning support has been claimed, the evidence pack must include the following:

P366.1 Evidence that an assessment to identify the support the apprentice needs has been carried out (see paragraph P86 for criteria). This evidence must include:

P366.1.1 The assessment of learning need(s) (see paragraph P90.1)

P366.1.2 Details of the identified learning support need(s); and

P366.1.3 Confirmation that the learning support need(s) identified must be supported to ensure the individual can complete their apprenticeship.

P366.1.4 In instances where you, as the main provider, have identified a learning support need(s) without an official diagnosis, details of how this requirement was acknowledged prior to an assessment being undertaken (see paragraph P85).


New Standards Versions

A learner on programme on an earlier version of a standard may transfer to the latest version of the same standard if that standard code remains the same.

If the learner wishes to transfer to a new version with a different standard code, this would be treated as a change of programme.

The provider, employer, and learner must all be aware of and agree to the transfer to a new version of a standard. Both the Apprenticeship Agreement and Commitment Statement should be updated to reflect the change.

Learners cannot move back to an old version of the standard once they have moved to a new version.

The period of learning on the new version of a standard can be exempt from the minimum duration rule. However, both periods of learning on the old and new standard must meet the minimum duration rule.

Where a learner transfers to a new version of a standard, they will continue on the same funding band that they started on. Any re-negotiation of price after the transfer must be recorded and if this exceeds the maximum band for the original standard then the employer must pay the difference.


Recognition of Prior Learning and Initial Assessments

Clarification that providers must assess a learner’s prior learning and experience before starting the apprenticeship through a robust initial assessment. This should include:

P59.1 The knowledge, skills and behaviours in the standard which the apprentice already has and needs no further training on;

P59.2 The training content the apprentice will omit and the reduction in duration as a consequence; and

P59.3 The amount by which you will reduce the total negotiated price.

P60 Where applicable, your assessment must include any knowledge, skills and behaviours gained from the following:

P60.1 prior work experience, particularly where the apprentice is an existing employee, or is beginning their apprenticeship after completing another programme with a relevant work placement;

P60.2 prior education or training and associated qualifications in a related sector subject area; and

P60.3 any previous apprenticeship undertaken.

Evidence of the initial assessment must be in the evidence pack with full details found in paragraph 356 of the funding rules document.



There are a number of new rules and clarifications regarding subcontracting, including the recording and publishing of subcontracting arrangements. Full details can be found from paragraph 167 of the funding rules document.

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