Advice from the ESFA regarding 2019 to 2020 student transfer process for pre-existing qualifications

The ESFA has now published their advice regarding the 2019/20 student transfer process for pre-existing qualifications.

To view lists of the qualifications affected/not affected please follow the links below:

Given the impact of the new process, we have also provided you with a quick way of checking the qualification you can enrol and register students on in the 2019/20 funding year, so they can transfer should they need to. Please refer to our Guide to choosing your QCF pre-existing qualification in the 2019/20 funding year.

The transfer process for pre-existing qualifications

Many students taking BTEC qualifications start and achieve a smaller qualification in the suite in their first year, and then top up to a larger qualification in the following year.

From 1 August 2020, any student who started a smaller pre-existing qualification in the 2019/20 funding year will not be able to progress to the larger pre-existing qualification in 2020/21, and still be funded. This is because the ESFA will remove funding from the pre-existing qualifications from 1 August 2020.

In order to ensure students are not disadvantaged, the ESFA has put in place a transfer process for these nested pre-existing qualifications. 

Students can instead start on the larger qualification in the 2019/20 funding year and if they choose not to progress to the second year, they can be transferred to the smaller qualification in the same suite. Students will need to meet all the assessment requirements for the smaller qualification, and have achieved it in the first year.

The ESFA has published full guidance on the transfer process including what you need to do in the individualised student record (ILR), or Learning Provider portal system from the Student Loans Company (SLC), to complete a transfer and when you need to do it. You must complete all student transfers by 18.00 on 22 October 2020. The ESFA has confirmed that transferring a student to the smaller qualification will not affect your qualification achievement rates (QAR), or the ESFA audit of your organisation, as long as you follow the steps outlined in their guidance.

What does this mean for you and your students?

The transfer process means that you can continue to support students on pre-existing qualifications to take either a one-year or a two-year qualification. We have provided key FAQs below.

 

A top-up is when a student moves from a smaller qualification in their first year of study, to a larger qualification in their second year of study. The transfer process will mean students will instead start on the larger qualification in the 2019/20 funding year and transfer to the smaller qualification in the same suite if they choose not to progress to the second year. To transfer, students will need to meet all the assessment requirements for the smaller qualification, and have achieved it in the first year.

Only those level 3 QCF qualifications identified as pre-existing are affected. The full list of pre-existing qualifications - the QCF BTEC Level 3 Applied General and Tech Level qualifications that will no longer be funded after 1 August 2020 - can be found here.

We have provided a quick way of checking the larger qualification you can enrol and register students on in the 2019/20 funding year, so they can transfer to the smaller qualification should they need to. Please refer to our Guide to choosing your QCF pre-existing qualification in the 2019/20 funding year.

The transfer process is in place for students who are on pre-existing qualifications, and who would have previously used the top-up process; i.e. those students that would have started a smaller pre-existing qualification in the 2019/20 funding year, and then used it to count towards achieving the larger qualification in the same suite in the 2020/21 funding year.

If you are delivering pre-existing qualifications that are part of a suite of nested qualifications in the 2019/20 funding year, the ESFA strongly encourages you to start a student on the larger qualification. The student must also agree to start on the larger qualification.

If the student achieves the smaller qualification within the 2019/20 funding year, and chooses not to progress to the second year of the larger qualification, you can transfer the student onto the smaller qualification.

The ESFA has published full guidance on the transfer process, including what you need to do in the individualised learner record (ILR), or Learning Provider portal system from the Student Loans Company (SLC), to complete a transfer and when you need to do it. You must complete all student transfers by 18.00 on 22 October 2020. Although you have until 22 October 2020, you should transfer students at the earliest opportunity within the 2019/20 funding year.

The ESFA has confirmed in this guidance that transferring a student to the smaller qualification will not affect your qualification achievement rates (QAR), or the ESFA audit of your organisation.

The process is only available for the 2019/20 funding year.

Some QCF Level 3 National qualifications are not affected as they do not have a reformed RQF version and are, therefore, not classified as pre-existing. The unaffected QCF Level 3 National qualifications can all be found here.

The RQF Level 3 National qualifications are also not affected. The unaffected RQF Level 3 National qualifications can all be found here.

You can continue to use the top-up process for these two groups of qualifications.

The transfer process for pre-existing qualifications does not apply to these two groups of qualifications.

From 1 August 2020, any student who started a smaller pre-existing qualification in the 2019/20 funding year will not be able to progress to the larger pre-existing qualification in the 2020/21 funding year, and still be funded. This is because the ESFA will not approve the pre-existing qualifications for funding from 1 August 2020.

The ESFA do not want to disadvantage students who may be affected by the implementation of this policy, so has put in place a transfer process for these nested pre-existing qualifications for the 2019/20 funding year only.

The ESFA has confirmed that transferring a student to the smaller qualification will not affect your qualification achievement rates (QAR), or the ESFA audit of your organisation, as long as the transfer is processed according to ESFA guidance/regulations.

You must complete all student transfers so that the data is present and accurate within your ILR(R14) by 18.00 on 22 October 2020. This exceptional flexibility from the ESFA for the 2019/20 funding year expires at this hard close-time/date. After this date, the 2019/20 ILR will close and you will not be able to transfer the student without this having an effect on your QAR and audit.

The ESFA has advised that although you have until 22 October 2020, you should transfer students at the earliest opportunity within the 2019/20 funding year if the student is not continuing in the 2020/21 funding year. The ESFA has published full guidance on the transfer process.

We strongly recommend that you transfer and claim certification for students on the smaller qualification as soon as they complete the qualification in the 2019/20 funding year, if you know they have chosen not to progress to the second year of the qualification. This will ideally be by Friday 7 August 2020.

This is to ensure that the student receives their certificate or results-notice by August 2020 and they can be included in the government’s statistical analysis of the 2019/20 results.

Students can be transferred to the smaller qualification after this date, and up until 22 October. However, results claimed from Pearson after this date, may not be included in the government’s statistical analysis of the 2019/20 results. 

Yes. You can enrol and register eligible students on larger pre-existing qualifications this September and they will be funded for the duration of their learning programme on this qualification (up to the certification end-date for each qualification of study, as per the funding rules). The transfer model only applies if your students choose not to progress to the second year of the larger qualification.

Yes. Pearson provides a refund to those centres who have had students move to a shorter BTEC qualification. The refund due is calculated as the difference between the cost of the larger and smaller qualification, minus an administration fee. Please refer to our fees for further details.

Yes. Pearson charges an administration fee for topping up to a larger qualification or for transferring to a smaller qualification. The administration fee for transferring to a smaller qualification will not be more than the top-up administrative fee. Please refer to our fees for further details.

No. This funding announcement applies to England ONLY and does not impact other nations. 

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