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Adult Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 185411, tabled on 21 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Association of Colleges' proposal that his Department adopt a business case approach in determining a provider's ability to deliver 90 per cent of their adult education provision.

Answered on

26 April 2021

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold for Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) adult skills, including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 traineeships, and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face to face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including through subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver very successfully remotely during lockdown and the return to face to face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

We are announcing this change now, to help providers plan their provision better for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.

In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

For those providers who are eligible and are at risk of insolvency, they would be referred to the Insolvency Regime or emergency funding process.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and, in particular, if there are providers that may need further support.