All you need to know about the new proposed changes to off-the-job and prior learning announced by the ESFA

ESFA new rules 2022

(May 2022)

ESFA has announced some key changes to apprenticeship funding rules for the 2022/2023 intake year which have been designed to make the process simpler. So, to help you navigate the new draft funding rules, we’ve summarised below the major changes to off-the-job (OTJ) and prior learning (RPL), and how this might affect your apprenticeship delivery.  

The 2022 to 2023 funding rules will apply to apprenticeships starting between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023. 

What are the new off-the-job training rule changes? 

The ESFA has announced that the minimum 20% off-the-job training rule will change to a flat baseline requirement of six hours per week from 1 August 2022. It will no longer be linked to working hours and the idea is that it will be fairer and simpler to understand. However, ESFA notes that the change must not dilute the existing requirements – the volume of training delivered must be guided by the initial assessment, meaning that an apprentice may train for more than 6 hours per week but no less. 

What are the new changes to recognition of prior learning? 

ESFA found that 16% of audits recorded errors relating to prior learning1. The new rules outline what assessments of prior learning activity must be included in more detail and provides a new formula for calculating reductions in price of the apprenticeship to account for such prior learning. 

An example of the calculation is provided by the ESFA: 

If the individual’s prior learning accounts for 300 off-the-job training hours and typically, for the same standard, you would deliver 1,000 off-the-job training hours to an individual with no prior learning, this would equate to 30% prior learning.  

Reduce the price by at least 50% of the prior learning percentage (30% in this case) from the maximum funding band. In this example, this means there must be a reduction of at least 15% (50% of 30%) of the maximum funding band. This reduced price is the maximum that will be paid using apprenticeship funding: in case of a £10,000 funding band the maximum price will be £8,500. 

“This new maximum funding amount becomes the starting point for further negotiation on price with the employer. Additional discounts could be applied, for example, where apprentice is part of a large cohort”, the ESFA says. 

Improving apprenticeships together with OneFile 

At OneFile, we’ll make sure all these new changes are updated in our software, so you’ll be ready to go and will be compliant once the new funding rules come into effect. This means that our Eportfolio will reflect the new OTJ rules and similarly, our RPL Calculator will easily calculate the reductions according to the new formula. And with us, you can rest assured that our award-winning support team will be on hand if you ever need help or have any questions. 

This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.