14-16 College FAQ Home Education

Legal references on this page apply to England.

14-16 College FAQ Home Education

Home educated young people aged 14-16 in England are able to attend college and the Government (ie the Education Skills Funding Agency) will pay for the course. The funding changed in September 2013. It is up to the colleges whether or not to admit under-16s. These students can do any course agreed by the college, not just a designated 14-16 course, although many colleges still don't offer GCSE courses.

The rules are different for home educated young people because the parent retains responsibility and so the college does not have to make special arrangements for pastoral care or offer a full curriculum. Colleges are using the post-16 funding formula for 14-16s. Colleges can take home educated students irrespective of whether they have the Ofsted grades for direct recruitment.

There is no national list of colleges which take home educated under-16s. I keep an informal list

NEW, JULY 2021 North Lindsey College, Scunthorpe contact Jeanette Walker, 14-16s Coordinator

City of Bristol College
Stratford College, East London
City and Islington College, NB students on this programme will be in college for approximately 14 hours per week
Truro and Penwith College Cornwall, minimum age 15, contact Tamsin Merritt
South Essex College contact Lisa Beeton.
Calderdale Halifax, West Yorkshire
South Leicestershire College
College of North West London
City College Norwich, contact Natalie Farrell
Northumberland College, contact Helen Norris Director of 14-16
Walsall College, contact Jimmy Hayward
Warwickshire College, contact Ruby Soodan (or Chris Gately)
East Kent College
Macclesfield College contact Rachel Smith
Lewisham and Southwark contact Juliette Grassby-Lewis.
TCAT Telford College Arts Technology, Shropshire, contact Hannah Smith
East Durham College GCSEs (includes 2019 flier)
Myerscough College
Central College Nottingham + New College Nottingham contact Jo Edgerton. https://www.nottinghamcollege.ac.uk/courses/courses-for-14-16 Link checked following merger Central and New College to form Nottingham College.
Plumpton College, East Sussex
Rotherham College (home ed 14-16 infill places) contact Gus Lastra
Easton and Otley College, Norfolk and Suffolk Flier
Telford College Arts and Technology
Halesowen College
New College Swindon
Peterborough Regional College
West Suffolk College email Bex Hammond, Programme Lead for Elective Home Education Courses
South Devon College level 2 functional skills/GCSEs English and Maths 14-16 home ed + possibility of other GCSEs subject to entrance requirements. enquiries@southdevon.ac.uk
CSV Redditch, CSV Worcester, Worcester 6th Form
Moulton College
Newbury College
West Berkshire College
Doncaster College
Milton Keynes College
West Lancashire College
Wirral Metropolitan College
South Staffordshire College
Strode College
Lambeth College, ask for Leanne Allen or Sharon Carnegie
Abingdon Witney College
Rotherham College
Vision Studio School Mansfield
South Gloucestershire College
City College Oxford
Bath College
Banbury and Bicester College
Rugby College

Colleges signed up to full new 14-16 system [DIRECT ENTRY] 2019-20

Institutions intending to enrol 14 to 16-year-olds in 2019 to 2020 academic year (from DfE list March 2021)

GOV.UK 14-16 Link last updated March 2021

The 14-16 home education funding arrangements are quite distinct from the direct recruitment funding arrangements. Specifically, the home education funding mirrors the usual 16+ funding. Colleges can take home educated students irrespective of whether they have the Ofsted grades for direct recruitment.

Do I have to contact each college individually?
Yes. If you get a good response from your local college I would be very grateful if you could let me know

What is the position for home educated under-16s wanting to go to college?
The rules are different for home educated young people because the parent retains responsibility and so the college does not have to make special arrangements for pastoral care or offer a full curriculum. DfE says arrangements are between the parents and the college and do not need to involve the local authority at all"

What is the difference between in-fill and discrete courses
In-fill means the student joins a class where the other students are already over 16 and the college may take into account the impact on the rest of the class and the difficulties in catching up after the start of the academic year. In contrast, discrete courses are specially set up for other students from a similar background.

What is the deadline for claiming funding
14-16 home educated and in-fill students are processed in the same way as post-16. The deadline for submitting the ILR RO6 funding claim for home educated 14-16s academic year is February (The timing is different for directly recruited 14-16s)

What does the college put on the ILR form?
"Two new learning delivery monitoring codes were introduced for use on the ILR for the 2013 to 2014 academic year:
a) LDM code 320 (14 to 16 ESFA direct funded students)
b) LDM code 321 (14 to 16 home-educated students)
Only students recorded as 320 count towards 14 to 16 funding. Code 320 should only be used to identify those students who are directly recruited. It should not be used to identify any other of 14- to 16-year-old for example:
a) home-educated students
b) students who have already achieved a level 2 qualification and are choosing to enrol on a full level 3 course
c) students enrolled in a school but studying part time in college"
(scroll down page)

Who should I talk to at the college?
It depends. It may be best to talk to the principal or the person responsible for 14-19s. It is probably best to avoid open days/evenings unless they are designated home education events, as whoever you speak to is unlikely to know about the home education funding

How should I approach the college/what should I say?
You can either ask on behalf of your own personal situation, explaining the motivation and interests of the particular young person - together with information about the new funding rules for home educated under-16s - or you can ask the general question "do you take under-16s" or "do you take home educated under-16s". I think the former is more likely to succeed

What should I take to show the college about the new rules?
You will need a copy of the information below about the special funding for home educated 14-16s

Electively home educated 14- to 15-year-olds

"Colleges sometimes admit children aged 14 or 15 who are being electively home educated, to take courses on an infill basis by arrangement with the local authority or with the parents/carers. Where these courses are at level 3, they are funded by entering the student on the ILR and the student then counts for lagged funding in just the same way as if they were 16- to 18-year-olds.

Prior to September 2013, students on courses below level 3 were funded either directly by the local authority, or sometimes by the parents/carers, paying a fee to the college. These arrangements changed with effect from September 2013. Colleges now enter these students on the ILR and they count towards the college’s student numbers for lagged funding in the following year. Local authorities and parent/carers should no longer be expected to pay fees for this provision.

Colleges make such local arrangements, as they deem appropriate. There is no national prescribed model for provision to these students and they do not form a part of the arrangements for the full-time enrolment of 14 -16 year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges."

Individualised learner record and funding for 14- to 16-year-olds

Two learning delivery monitoring codes were introduced for use on the ILR for the 2013 to 2014 academic year:

LDM code 320 (14 to 16 ESFA direct funded students)
LDM code 321 (14 to 16 home-educated students)
Only students recorded using LDM code 320 will be used to determine direct 14 to 16 funding. LDM code 320 should only be used to identify those students who are directly enrolled, and should not be used to identify any other of 14- to 16-year-old for example:
home-educated students
students who have already achieved a level 2 qualification and are choosing to enrol on a full level 3 course
students enrolled in a school but studying part time in college

Must English and Maths be Part of Course Because of Funding?
In September 2016 I took up this issue with the Education Funding Agency. The response was:

  • as students are under 16, the Condition of Funding methodology does not apply
  • home educated students do not count towards 14-16 direct funding
  • home educated students do not form part of the arrangements for full time enrolment of 14-16s
  • it is not a standard requirement for the college to provide maths and English tuition to home educated 14-16s

More here (EFA correspondence October 2016)

What if there's nothing about home education on the college website?
The college is very unlikely to have anything on the website about home educated 14-16s although a few do

The college says it doesn't take under-16s
While it may be true that the college doesn't take ANY 14-16s, what it's more likely to mean is that they have decided against going in for the full Government 14-16s scheme, but that wouldn't prevent them from taking an individual home educated under-16, because there are special rules for home educated young people

The college says it isn't taking 14-16s this year
If there is a specific reference to "this year" it probably means that the college decided against going in for the full Government 14-16s scheme, but this wouldn't prevent them from taking an individual home educated under-16, because there are special rules for home educated young people

The college says it can only take under-16s who are referred by the local authority
Legally it's NOT the case that under-16s have to be referred by the LA because any college which receives funding from the Education Skills Funding Agency can take a home educated under-16 and receive funding from ESFA, it may nevertheless be a matter of policy at the college, so you need to establish whether they've misunderstood (or are not aware of) the rules for home educated young people or whether they have got a clear policy and won't budge

The college says they can only get funding for a part-time course for home educated students
Yes, this is correct.

"101. The ESFA also funds the following groups of 14 to 16 year olds through the standard 16 to 19 funding formula. Institutions do not need to meet the direct recruitment criteria to enrol and record funding for these students. a. Students under 16 who hold qualifications that are at least equivalent to a full level 2 (achieved at an earlier age than normal) who wish to enrol on a full level 3 course. b. Electively home educated students (EHE). These students can only be enrolled and funded for part time courses – if an institution recruits them for full time courses, then they are no longer home educated and the institution will need to meet the criteria for direct recruitment." [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-rates-and-formula 2018]

There are five funding bands which are explained in this useful video from the EFA. Students are funded depending on the number of planned hours, as set out in the Funding Rates and Funding Guidance/Regulations BELOW 540 hours a year counts as part time, so the highest part-time band for electively home educated students is Band 4b (base rate £3.3K) for a minimum of 450 hours and maximum of 539, typically spread over 40 weeks. To put it another way, a student entered as "home educated" could be doing between 11 and 13.5 "planned hours" a week on average, but the college would only be funded as though they were doing 11, to keep it within Band 4b.

What is the Signficance of "Planned Hours"?
The latest Funding Guidance explains about planned hours, saying that "the definitions of the full time and part time bands are based on the annual planned hours that are planned for a student." It goes on to say that "Planned hours are those that are timetabled, organised and/or supervised by the institution, and take place in line with the institution’s normal working pattern to deliver the study programme during the funding year 2016/17" and that "supervised study CAN include: a. planned tutor led activity on qualification bearing courses for the student; b. planned hours of tutorials, work experience or supported internship, and planned hours on other activities that are organised and provided by the institution, such as sport or volunteering.

However, if the student is participating in organised sport or volunteering, it doesn't follow that the teaching hours must be reduced. The Funding Guidance does NOT say that planned hours MUST include these, and in fact most of the Q and A are about the college asking if they are allowed to include x or y to make up the hours.

The college would be within the rules if it reduced the teaching time and replaced it with supervised study which requires the student to remain on site.

See also https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/16-to-19-study-programmes-guide-for-providers updated 2020.

Core Aims in Study Programmes
Funding Core Aims in Study Programmes : "For funding purposes: the core aim has a significant impact on funding allocations for institutions. The core aim is used to calculate retention and to determine the programme cost weighting applied to the study programme. Institutions must record a core aim for every 16 to 19 funded student (excluding apprenticeships) in the ILR whether they are academic or vocational. In the majority of cases, the core aim must be identified and recorded within the funding qualifying period. The qualifying period varies by the length of study programme ... Future funding allocations are reduced if students are not retained for the planned duration of their study programme. Recording the core aim is a key aspect of determining retention."

16-19 education funding in England since 2010 House of Commons Library Research Briefing, October 2017

Can DfE confirm whether the EFA 16 to 19 Bursary Fund of up to £1200 a year per young person in one of the defined vulnerable groups and the discretionary bursaries award to meet individual needs e.g. transport, meals and books etc will be opened up to pre16 EHE students? If so, are they planning to update the guidelines to reflect this?
DfE says: "there are no plans to change the guidelines to extend bursaries to any pre-16 pupils. Overall bursary eligibility mirrors 16 to 19 funding eligibility. There is some discretion for institutions to award a bursary to pre-16 EHE students in exceptional circumstances, but a strong case would have to be made that would satisfy college auditors." See Appendix 1 here March 2016

The college says there aren't any GCSE courses, only vocational courses
This may be true. Many colleges don't routinely offer GCSEs as it is expected that these will be studied at school. Where colleges DO offer GCSE courses they may be one-year resit courses. However, it may also be the case that the college believes or has decided that under-16s can only do the special courses set up for 14-16 whereas in fact home educated young people can also do courses which are set up for post-16s

Can I do one subject at one college and another subject at a different college?
Yes. BUT. DfE says "students can only be enrolled at one institution (the "home" institution), and that one institution takes on the responsibility for claiming all the relevant funding for the student. So, if a home-educated student wants to take courses at more than one college, then the college where the majority of learning is taking place has to take the responsibility to be the "home" institution and claim all the funding for the student, then pass across the relevant part to the other college(s) involved. There would have to be some agreement between the colleges ahead of the funding claim, for this to be able to happen" NB the student's results at both institutions is recorded by the "home" college. [Private email DfE to Fiona Nicholson]

The college says I have to take a test to see if I'm at the right level for the course. What does this mean?
Because GCSE courses tend to be re-sit courses and/or one-year courses it is assumed that the student is already familiar with the material. There may be fewer teaching hours than on a standard course so the college may want the student to be already working at GCSE level. The assessment is likely to be BKSB.

Is it worth asking the home education department at the local authority about under-16s college places?
Yes it is worth doing this. The majority of local authorities in England have been sent regular updates about 14-16s college funding. Several councils have worked with colleges to arrange home educators' open days

Does the student already have to be 14 at the start of the academic year?
No. DfE says "for home-educated students, there are no age restrictions for funding purposes, it is for the college to decide whether they wished to take younger students onto their courses. If they agree to take a younger home-educated student onto their courses, then we will fund in the usual way" [Private email DfE to Fiona Nicholson]

Can the college claim the Pupil Premium on behalf of 14-16s?
Only in restricted circumstances, NOT for home educated students. Click here for more information (EFA correspondence October 2016).

Is it just Further Education colleges or can alternative providers claim the funding as well?
Alternative Providers who receive funding direct from the Education Funding Agency, are eligible to claim the funding in the same way as Further Education Colleges. See here for more information

Does this apply to Wales as well?
No, the new rules for 14-16s college published by DfE apply only to England

Do home educated students have to do English and Maths as part of the college course?
No. The rules are different for home educated young people under the age of 16 doing a part-time course because the parent retains responsibility and so the college does not have to make special arrangements for pastoral care or offer a full curriculum. Where a student is on a full-time course the college may insist that English and Maths form part of the course. This needs to be discussed with the college if the student has already got English/Maths qualifications or is studying at home and taking these exams elsewhere as an external candidate. However, ultimately it is up to the college whether or not to accept a particular home educated student under the age of 16, there is no entitlement to a course or right to a place. Click here for more information (EFA correspondence October 2016).

What about SEN?
Where a home educated 14/15 year old needs additional support, the college enters this information on the ILR in November and it will count towards the amount which the college receives in lagged funding next year. Where the student has low to moderate additional support needs the unique determining factor for funding eligibility will be the individual student's postcode. Where a home educated 14/145 year old has high additional support needs, the college will ask the LA for a top-up in the current academic year, record this on the ILR, and receive an additional £6k the following year

Can the LA insist that a college convenes and holds EHCP reviews without the LA providing extra resources for the college to do this, and if the LA isn't allowed to do this, what can the college do about it?
DfE says: "LAs can request (but not require) that the early years setting, further education college or other post-16 institution convene and hold the (review) meeting on their behalf. There may be a requirement on the post-16 institution to do so as part of the contractual arrangements agreed when the LA commissioned and funded the placement. (C 9.174 of the Code). Where the college do not agree to hold the review meeting, the LA can make alternative arrangements for the review meeting, such as holding it in their offices, or another mutually convenient venue. The college must co-operate with the review process." (See Appendix 1 here March 2016

How do we prove home education status?
The college may not be aware that there is no legal requirement to register with the council. If you are 'on the books' with the council you can ask for a letter/email to pass to the college but otherwise you can write and sign your home education declaration. If you encounter any difficulties, please get in touch

Will the college adapt the course if it is not suitable for under-16s?
There is no requirement for colleges to make adaptations if the student is taking an infill place. For example GCSE resit or shorter courses may be designed for adult learners and some parents may find set texts unacceptable for younger learners

Can I start a course after the beginning of the academic year?
Yes, providing there is a place available, colleges do admit students at varying times throughout the year, not just in September

Can local authorities still arrange for 14-16s year olds to be admitted to college?
Yes. The High Needs Block pays for this.

Will the college report absence/exclusion to the local authority?
DfE says "The college shall work collaboratively with appropriate local authorities in order to share information about the attendance and/or absences (both authorised and unauthorised) as local authorities may deem necessary. Local authorities can then consider if it is necessary to take any action in light of their duties under sections 436A and 437 of the Education Act 1996, which relate to children of compulsory school age who may not be receiving suitable education."

Can young people living in Wales go to college in England
I received the following answer from DfE in August 2014: This advice is for the academic year 2014/15. The policy may change for future years, and the Department for Education will publish new guidance on GOV.UK A student who is currently living in Wales can receive public funding at a college in England, in some circumstances but education providers must comply with the EFA's rules on claiming public funding for Welsh students set out in the Funding regulations' guidance

Some English colleges and education providers are located close to the borders with Wales and Scotland, and may have recruitment areas that normally include areas outside England. Alternatively, the typical 'travel to learn' pattern for students may include an education provider over the border. In these circumstances, there is no issue with providers claiming funding for students (Funding regulations/guidance paragraph 53). English education providers can only claim funding for Welsh home educated students when they are either within the normal recruitment area, or when the travel to learn patterns for the area include the English provider. The EFA would not expect to see large numbers of Welsh students being funded in English providers