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The Robert Napier School

16 - 19 Bursary Funding

16-19 Bursary Procedures 2021-22

Background

The 16-19 bursary funding grant was introduced by the Government in September 2011/12, replacing the old EMA payments, and has since undergone some changes but the basic principle remains the same.  Funding is ringfenced and should be used to provide financial support to young people who face significant financial barriers to participation in education or training post 16.  There are 2 elements to the funding:

  1. Vulnerable young people (those in care; care leavers; young people receiving Income Support and young people receiving both Disability Living Allowance and Employment Support Allowance) – up to £1200 per year
  2. The rest of the fund is allocated to schools, colleges and training providers so that they can identify and support the young people who need it with a Discretionary Bursary.

References

The latest guidance on the administration of the funding was issued on 30th April 2021 and indicates how the funding should be allocated, what it can be used for, how it should be monitored and what happens to unspent funding:

16-to-19-bursary-fund-guide-2021-to-2022-academic-year

We also need to take into consideration the funding guidance and regulations updated in November 2020

16_to_19_funding_guidance_Regulations_2020_to_2021-Version_1.2.pdf

Requirements for 21/22

We need to ensure that our existing practices are compliant with the Funding guidance for the current Academic Year. We need to ensure we can provide full supporting evidence for each application and the award that is made is per the funding regulations document:

‘In all circumstances, the institution must retain original documents including, for example, attendance records, enrolment records and learning agreements. In considering how long these documents should be retained, all documentation that underpins funding claims or returns must be treated as financial and legal records.’

These are the core elements we need to comply with as per previous, and the revised 21/22 guidance:

  • The discretionary bursary must now be supported by a School (Trust) Policy or Statement set in line with the new funding rules.  It must identify how the fund will be used, the eligibility criteria, and any T’s & C’s that are set.  It must also be compliant with the Equality Act 2010.
  • Application forms must clearly state the criteria for making an application and the type of supporting evidence required.  Deadline submission dates must be clear but flexible for in year changes to circumstances. They must state awards are not guaranteed and include a declaration to be signed by the student/parents making them aware a false submission could result in prosecution.
  • Institutions must ensure they assess the individual students needs when awarding the bursary funding on a case by case basis. We cannot make flat rate payments.

This also applies to Vulnerable Student payments who should only receive the amount they require to participate in their education programme and not just get the full £1200 because they fall into that category.

  • Eligibility Criteria must be clearly identified and supporting records to evidence this has been reviewed and confirmed for each application must be retained for inspection by auditors. (See Appendix 1)
  • We should not make monetary payments to individuals as far as possible but should instead purchase the resources required on behalf of the students once they have been approved.

‘ESFA does not recommend that large or lump sum bursary payments are made to students’

  • Any Bursary Funding Grant not spent within the year of allocation may be rolled forward to the next academic year but may not be carried forward for longer than 1 year.  Unspent funding in excess of this period must be reported to the ESFA by 31st March each year and they will recover the unspent funding. enquiries.esfa@education.gov.uk
  • We are entitled to use up to 5% of our Bursary Funding to cover administrative costs
  • Students in receipt of bursary funding must be identified on the school census or by completing the ILR (Individualised Learner Record)
  • The Bursary Funding Grant and Allocations will now form part of the Annual Audit. (See Appendix 2)

Other General

If in exceptional circumstances we need to make a payment to a student, this should be done via a BACs payment and only to the student’s own bank account.  If the student cannot manage their own funds or is unable to administer their own bank account then in these exceptional circumstances, we need to ensure we are confident with whoever has been assigned to manage the bursary on behalf of the student.

We should make payments conditional on agreed standards of attendance and behaviour

Payments should be stopped if a student is absent for 4 continuous weeks or more (excluding holiday periods) or have withdrawn from their programme of study.

Any complaints/disputes regarding bursary applications should follow the school’s own complaints procedure.  The ESFA will only get involved if there is an allegation that the criteria or content of the Bursary Fund Guide 2021/22 is being disregarded.

We are able to draw down additional funding for Vulnerable Groups from the SBSS where we identify a new student who meets the criteria during the academic year if required but should offset with any unused funding where possible.

The DfE will be undertaking an annual survey to understand how institutions are using the funding and the effectiveness of the new methodology for the discretionary bursary allocations.

Schools are responsible for investigating any instances of fraud in relation to bursary fund applications and if fraudulent or misleading information has knowingly been supplied and a payment made, it is the school’s responsibility to try to recover the payment from the student. Significant attempts of fraud should be reported to the ESFA.