Ruth Canham-James

Apprentice - Withdrawal or Fail?

Created

I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this. 

An apprentice has got to gateway three months early. They were due to complete in June, but finished delivery in March (still met the minimum duration). They completed, so we deserve the full 80% on programme funding. We marked them as 1 and 8 with an Actual End Date in March, and waited for them to complete the EPA.

The apprentice has now decided doesn't want to do the whole EPA (he's done part of it), and has quit. That's not a fail, as to be Completion Status 2, he would have to have sat the full EPA. ILR Spec says;

  • For apprenticeship standards, the learning activities for the programme aim include both the training and end point assessment. Code 2 must only be used for the apprenticeship standard programme aim where both the training and end point assessment activities have been completed.

So that leaves a Withdrawal, but if I code him as a withdrawal with an end date of March, we get the balancing payment for Apr/May/Jun we got for early completion, clawed back. That not fair, as we finished delivery and earned that funding.

Before I raise it with the service desk, have I missed something? Is there anything we can do? It's not even as if we can use the EAS to get the missing funding, as it should be coming from the employer's levy account.

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Martin West

It may not appear fair but that is the funding methodology.

Ruth Canham-James

Martin West I don't accept that though. It's an oversight because they just didn't consider this scenario. It's absurd that we should be penalised for a student finishing early, because the methodology can't handle this. We can't be the first provider this has happened to, it's not that bizarre. How many of these unintended funding losses should we accept simply because the methodology doesn't account for some totally legitimate scenarios?

Kelly Knights

If they’ve sat part of their EPA why cant they be a completion and fail?

Martin West

The PSM guidance is as follows:

In order to be recorded as ‘Completed’ (Completion status code 2), both the training and end point assessment activities for the programme must be completed. An end point assessment that has resulted in a failed outcome can be classed as complete as long as the learner reaches the end of the end point assessment period, rather than withdrawing. If either of these have not been completed, then the programme aim cannot be recorded with Completion status code 2.

Steveh

Yeah, it's an outlier, and not fair, but I don't think there's anyway round it.

The other thing to check is did you actually get the balancing payment? Certainly in 19/20, it was releasing the balancing payment as part of the completion payment and not before (despite what the technical guidance said). Me and Mel had months of back and forth with the Service Desk to get them to confirm it...

Melanie Aspinall

Steveh still never got to the bottom of that from the service desk either, I don't think!

Steveh

Oh, I'd have to dig through my emails, but I thought we got them to admit that the balancing payments Just Don't Come until completion? It's entirely feasible I may just not have forwarded this on!!!

Melanie Aspinall

To be fair, Steve, you're probably right that we did get them to admit that - I'm lost in an email maze these days!

Martin West

Steveh

From the Technical guidance

  1. For apprentices on apprenticeship standards who complete their learning or EPA in the 2019 to 2020 funding year or later, the completion element is earned when you record an ‘Achievement date’ in the ILR and the ‘Completion status’ is recorded using code 2 (‘The learner has completed the learning activities leading to the learning aim’). You will earn this funding for the month of the ‘Achievement date’, even if this month is different to the ‘Learning planned end date’ or the ‘Learning actual end date’ of the programme.

Ruth Canham-James

Martin West That's talking about the completion element. We're talking about the balancing payment for the on programme element.

Plot twist, this was actually March/June 2020 (thought the principal remains the same). The EPAO has finally said the apprentice is too late. We've been waiting for a over a year for the apprentice to get the last part done, trying to persuade them to do it. We did get the balancing payment in 19/20. So, we have actually had the money, but I think they're now going to show up in FRM27 suggesting we owe the money back. I guess we'll have this conversation with ESFA when they address the money they want back based on FRM27. We have a couple on there where we fully accept that we need to give the money back, but I'd like to argue for keeping the funding for this one.

Benjamin Cowdery

Will a clawback as a result of FRM27 always be discussed with the Provider or will it just appear as a clawback with no reference, where clawbacks are usually shown?