How to spend the apprenticeship levy in schools   

Many schools are paying the apprenticeship levy without even knowing.  

In April 2017, the Government introduced the apprenticeship levy so all employers with a wage bill over £3 million have to contribute. Many schools fall under this umbrella but don’t know how much they’re paying or how they can access their funds. Schools that are part of a larger employer group – like a local authority or multi-academy trust (MAT) – could have access to sizeable funds.  


Apprenticeships are a great way for schools to recruit new talent or upskill existing staff. Apprentices are employed by the school and learn on the job so they’re fully accustomed to your school environment. They also spend time at college or university to increase their formal knowledge. 

There are loads of relevant apprenticeships available – from level 2 (equivalent to five GCSEs) all the way up to Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level.  

For a list of all the different apprenticeships available and how they can be used in your school, download our free guide 


Depending on how your school is run, the apprenticeship levy will work differently.  

1. Voluntary-aided and foundation schools 

If your governing body’s pay bill is over £3 million, they’ll need to pay the levy. To access the funds, you’ll need to get in touch with your governing body and see how much allocation is available. 

2. Community and voluntary-aided schools 

If your local authority’s pay bill is over £3 million, they’ll need to pay the levy. Your local authority should’ve already let you know how much levy you have available to spend each year. If you’re unsure how to access the funds, contact them to find out.  

3. Academies and multi-academy trusts  

The trust is likely to be your employer, and they’re likely to pay the apprenticeship levy. You’ll need to get in contact with your trust and make sure you receive the relevant funding and it’s managed as effectively as possible.   


All public sector bodies with more than 250 employees must employee at least 2.3% of their total headcount as new apprentices by March 2020. If your school has less than 250 staff, you don’t need to worry about this. But if you’re part of a MAT, the trust may have over 250 employees across the organisation, so you’ll need to double check with them.  


Schools employ lots of different roles, and there are loads of apprenticeships available that schools can use to train or upskill staff. There are the obvious choices like post-graduate teaching apprenticeships (level 6) or teaching assistant apprenticeships (level 3). But there are also loads of courses in other fields that may be relevant to your school – like facilities management, catering or accounting and finance.  

Apprenticeships are a really flexible way to train staff in a recognised qualification, and you can customise the training to suit your school too. For a list of all the different apprenticeships available and how they can be used in your school, download our free guide.

Download guide



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