13th October 2020
How To Use Your Apprenticeship Account
Using your school’s apprenticeship levy doesn’t have to be complicated, in this article we will explore how to access potentially thousands of pounds of funding to upskill current staff members and attract new people to your school
Do you pay into the apprenticeship levy?
The levy is paid by all organisations with an annual payroll of £3m or over, who pay 0.5% of their total annual bill into an ‘apprenticeship levy service account’. The money will be paid on a monthly basis and will be taken back by the government, should the organisation not have spent it within 2 years.
For local authority schools, the LEA is the ‘end-point employer’ and therefore they pay into and control the use of the apprenticeship levy service account.
If your school is in a maintained academy trust then they will pay into and control the account.
Some standalone academy schools and free schools will be large enough to pay into the levy and have complete autonomy over how it is spent.
If your school is an academy in a small trust, standalone academy or free school with a payroll below £3m, then your school will not pay into the levy. However, you will still be able to utilise the Co-Funding Investment for Non-Levy Payers (details below) to cover 95% of the training costs associated with an apprenticeship course.
What are the benefits of apprenticeship courses?
Apprenticeship courses are available in a huge variety of different disciplines and levels that go right up to Master’s level qualifications. The whole idea of the apprenticeship scheme is to allow employers to upskill staff members whilst they work full-time in their roles, so that organisations can empower their employees to achieve more without missing out on their valuable time and hard work.
The money that your organisation has paid into the service account can only be used on approved apprenticeship courses (see below for further details) and will only be available on a two-year rolling basis.
As the apprenticeship scheme is not optional for large employers, if this money isn’t utilised within 2 years, it will be taken out of the account and used elsewhere, so you might as well make the most of it!
How can I access the apprenticeship levy funds?
The end-point employer, which may be the school, MAT or LEA as listed above, will need to create an apprenticeship account via the government’s apprenticeship portal.
This process will involve nominating appropriate members of staff, such as finance and/or HR teams, to manage the account.
Once you have created an account, you will be able to enrol members of staff onto apprenticeship courses, with the money being paid directly from this account to the training provider. There will be clear step-by-step instructions on the portal as well as support from the provider who delivers each training course you sign up for.
What can I use my apprenticeship levy for?
There are so many options available to schools to use the apprenticeship scheme, including:
- Level 6 – Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship (officially recognised initial teacher training leading to QTS/PGCE qualification)
- Level 4 – School Business Professional (business managers & finance staff)
- Level 3 – Supporting Teaching & Learning (classroom support staff)
- Level 3 – Business Administration
- Level 3 – Facilities Service Management
- Many more options available
You can use the filters on the Institute of Apprenticeships’ website to browse the complete list of approved apprenticeship courses.
This is constantly updated and will have new courses including the SENCO apprenticeship which is currently in development.
How can Engage help my school to make the most of the apprenticeship levy?
In order to help give schools the opportunity to use the apprenticeship levy as an effective succession plan for teachers, we have incorporated the postgraduate teaching apprenticeship as part of our initial teacher training course.
The Engage Teacher Training Programme is a two-phased approach to ITT, with ‘bridging to ITT’ modules in Phase One: Getting Ready to Teach designed to prepare trainees for their PGCE year in Phase Two: Ready to Teach.
During Phase Two, your school can use the money in its apprenticeship levy service account to cover the entirety of the training and assessment costs of a PGCE (£9,000). We have collaborated with a national university who deliver school-based PGCE & QTS courses to schools across the country.
What if my school doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy or has used up all the money in our levy account?
If you don’t have access to any apprenticeship levy funds, either because your school doesn’t pay the levy or because you have used up all of the money in your account, you can use the Co-Funding Investment scheme.
The Co-Funding Investment scheme sees the government contributing 95% of training costs, leaving schools with only 5% to pay themselves. Using Phase Two: Getting Ready to Teach as an example, your school would only have to pay £450 for all of the training, tutoring and assessment required for your trainee to achieve QTS.