To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) advice and (b) support he is providing to (i) further education and (ii) sixth form colleges on the covid-19 outbreak.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
7 April 2020
We are providing a range of advice and support to further education (FE) and sixth form colleges on the Covid-19 outbreak. We recognise that this situation carries financial implications for many institutions, and we are working to mitigate the impact as much as we can.
To help manage this pressure, we can confirm that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year.
ESFA allocations for 2020/21 were confirmed at the end of March, and payments will be made in line with the national profile which will be confirmed in the 2020/21 Funding Rules.
Officials in the ESFA FE territorial teams are in regular contact with colleges to update them and answer questions that they may have. In addition, through the FE Commissioner and his team and our pool of National Leaders of Governance, we have a range of experienced FE leaders and governors who are able to offer advice and support.
In addition, we know that colleges are looking at moving more learning on-line to allow students to continue with studies remotely. Jisc is providing practical advice to college staff and the Education and Training Foundation is running webinars for FE providers on how to make the most of online learning.
We are working hard to provide support to mitigate impact on the FE sector and we know that rules and funding arrangements will need to be adapted. We have set out more information in the operational guidance that is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision. We have also published apprenticeship guidance, which is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.
My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19.