adam wright

16-19 Long Term Planned Absence


Hi All,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on how to approach a learner with a planned long term medical absence, IE a surgery with an prolonged recovery time (>4 weeks)? 

As we know, the rules state: 'Institutions must withdraw students from their programmes if they do not return to learning after being absent for 4 weeks. ESFA does not distinguish between authorised and unauthorised absence for funding purposes'

However, if this is as rigid as the wording suggests, why have ' where a student has not been withdrawn but has been absent for more than 4 weeks, there must be auditable evidence of an intention to return.' later in the rules?




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HI Adam,

Several years ago, we implemented a ‘learner absence log’ specifically to address this ESFA requirement of 'auditable evidence'.

We use this form when we know a learner’s absence is likely to exceed the 4 weeks, but we are confident that they will return i.e. after surgery.  This log tracks their absence and is our auditable evidence of their intention to return., as it documents the learners commitment to return on a specific date, we also ask for a doctor’s note, again which demonstrates the planned date for return. If subsequently the learner decides not to return, then we exit them in line with their last date of evidenced attendance.

Hope this helps.


Martin West

The part you quoted also states ‘This is unless there is auditable evidence of an intention to return’.

A BIL is not used in 16-18 funding as the funding covers the Academic year and it is only those that have exceeded 4 weeks absence with no intention to return within the funding year that must be withdrawn, you could view this as the same as unauthorised absence and subsequently view those with an intention to return as authorised absence.


Jess Reading

We record 16-19 with a long term absence as BIL's just to keep track of them. We don't want to withdraw them on our MIS system as harder to track, and if we left them as continuing, someone would want to withdraw them if they haven't been attending.

This is only where they are known to be coming back, and if we subsequently find out they don't come back we just update the enrolment to a withdrawal. If everything is corrected by R14 it won't effect anything, or never has for us.

Martin West

The ILR does not record breaks in learning for 16-19 funded learners (Funding model 25 and 82).
If a 16-19 funded learner has agreed a leave of absence with you, then the learning aim record(s) should be left open. When the learner completes their learning aim(s), these are closed in the normal way.
If the learner withdraws from learning, then the learning aims are closed. If this learner later returns to the same programme of study, these aims can be reopened at your discretion depending upon the timing.