Last week the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) published the adult education budget (AEB) funding rules for the 2019 to 2020 funding year (1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020).  With providers still finalising their curriculum plans for next year we’ve taken a look through to highlight the key changes which might impact you.

Low wage eligibility

Let’s start with the good news!  Last year the ESFA introduced the low wage eligibility.  This was very well received by the sector and remains in place for next year.  This rule enables providers with AEB funding to fully fund employed learners on low wages for qualifications up to and including level 2.  Currently the low wage threshold is £15,736.50 with next year seeing this increase to a national rate of £16,009.50.  We have already seen the positive impact on the use of qualifications to support employed learners to progress in the workplace.  ESOL is a subject area that has benefited from this enabling English skills for those who need it most to progress to better jobs, higher wages and increased social mobility.


One thing to mention is that the specified Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) will publish their own AEB funding rules so if you are grant funded or your organisation wins a procured contract for AEB check the devolved area rules for learner eligibility including low wage.  The GLA made it clear they intend to use the London Living Wage as the low wage threshold which again is positive.

Local Flexibility

No change here.  It’s a shame that there is no movement on the rules for learners aged 19-23 without a full level 2.  There are many reasons why learners haven’t achieved a full level 2 and it would have been sensible to fund level 2 qualifications alongside their full level 2 to give them every chance of success not just entry and level 1 qualifications.

The full document can be read on the ESFA’s website with a summary of the changes included in the publication on pages 65 and 66.

For more information about funding, you can now watch our recent funding webinar on-demand (please note, the webinar was recorded before the release of the draft rules).