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How the funding should be spent

1. Do you have any guidance on how the Accelerating Learning Programme (ALP) can be spent?

Please read our guidance on expenditure

There are also playlists available where schools are sharing their experiences on how they plan to use the funding. 

Welsh Government has been clear that the funding is not provided for the purpose of purchasing equipment, or other consumables, or for providing professional learning (PL). Other sources of funding are available to meet these needs. For example, we have provided extra resource to the Regional Education Consortia to support PL needs associated with the Accelerating Learning Programme, and have made grant funding available to all schools via the Professional Learning Grant to meet their specific PL needs.

Specific questions on eligible activities

1. Various queries have been received about engaging on-line tutors and support as part of the programme, for example, could we use a company that provides human resource to support learning through an on-line platform?

Yes it is permissible to use the grant funding to support on-line tutors providing this is a relatively small part of a school’s wider approach to supporting learners and not the whole approach employed.

2. I’ve had a query about whether the grant can be spent on a third party provision for vulnerable learners.  What are your thoughts on that please?

It has been confirmed that the grant is for recruitment rather than contracting out, but if this is demonstrably the right thing for the school and some of its learners, and if it is a small component of a school plan, it would be acceptable.

3. Staff need to be trained on uploading work on to various platforms to provide work for pupils who are at home self-isolating, can the grant be spent on this training?

The ALP grant is not the funding route to address this issue, instead the school’s Professional Learning Grant (PLG) can pick that up. Also the regional consortia have been provided with funding resources to provide PL linked to the ALP programme so schools should discuss any needs with their region.

4. Current staff want to hold homework sessions for pupils who have fallen behind due to being off during the lockdown period. Can the money be used to pay our current staff to do this?

If it’s to increase someone’s hours to cover this then yes that is a perfectly legitimate spend.

5. Can schools increase a teaching assistant (TA) from a Level 1 to a Level 3 (using the grant to fund the increase in costs)?

Not if this simply means paying a member of staff a higher salary, if it’s a change in role that is not an increase in capacity (i.e. their original role is not backfilled) then it is not within the spirit of the funding scheme. If someone is changing roles say from a TA to a HLTA they should hold HLTA status, we advise you talk to your regional consortia about support for PL for TAs.

6. Can schools undertake a focussed writing project making use of film and media but use a creative arts company rather than employing a person?

This represents deployment of additional capacity for the school. While this example is not direct employment, it is bringing in necessary human resource to the school and is therefore an acceptable use of the fund if it is a small component of a school plan.

7. Can we use the funding to develop the notion of independence in learning but spend it on training for teachers to impact on whole school ethos?

This is not an acceptable use of the funding, as outlined, there are other schemes and funding sources to support PL for the education workforce.

8. Can we use the funding to support the continuation of a successful creative schools project where this may mean employing an artist to support the project?

This represents deployment of additional capacity for the school. While this example is not employment of a TA or Teacher; it is bringing in necessary human resource to the school and is therefore an acceptable use of the fund if it is a small component of a school plan.

9. Can we use the funding to develop a well-being strategy across the school linking to our talk project to support emotional literacy?

This does not appear to be an acceptable use of the funding, as it does not suggest creation of additional capacity.

General advice

The funding can be used to:

  • recruit full time teachers, TAs and others such as coaches and mentors
  • recruit staff part time
  • back-filling is an acceptable approach, employing staff to grow capacity, then moving people around to fit needs of school so, for example you may employ a TA under the programme but use that member of staff to release someone else in the school to support learners under this scheme
  • buy extra hours for fractionally appointed staff
  • fund overtime for full time staff
  • (in limited cases) be used in specific instances to suspend redundancies, where a school would be making an individual redundant and recruiting to the same/predominantly similar role
  • buy-in a limited amount of external capacity for really specific purposes and as a limited proportion of the use of the grant (see above for creative art examples and online support)
  • appoint support workers to support online learning, where a support worker may be an additional adult in a live-streamed class for example

Funding queries

1. Can schools carry forward unspent funding from 2020 to 2021 and add it to the funding they will receive for 2021 to 2022?

Unfortunately, we cannot carry funding forward from 2020-21 to 2021-22. The funding will be recovered if it isn’t spent.

Welsh medium schools

1. The data being used to determine the ALP allocations differs from the data that has been submitted on PLASC.

The figures used by the Welsh Government to calculate the ALP allocations are based on PLASC 2020. While there are known issues with relying on the robustness of data from parents, under the Data Protection Act, schools have no choice but to record the category that parents choose. It’s the same with any collection of data where it involves personal details.

2. The field being use defaults to Not Applicable so if the information is not changed on SIMS/PLASC then it has been excluded from the allocations.

The figures are based on PLASC 2020. The Number of pupils aged 5 and over taught Welsh as a first language that do not speak Welsh at home is calculated by counting the number of pupils where:

  • study Of Welsh = 1 (taught Welsh as a first language)
  • speaking Welsh in the home = 0 (does not speak Welsh at home)

If the schools have not provided information on whether pupils speak Welsh in the home, so they’ve entered 2 (not applicable) for Speaking Welsh in the home, then these have not been counted.

Pupil referral units (PRU)

1. Please can you confirm whether the EOTAS funding within the ALP allocation is for pupil referral units, EOTAS pupils educated other than PRUs or both/either?

PRUs were included and there were separate allocations for EOTAS to the Local Authorities.

2. There was not an allocation identified under the heading of PRU, and therefore do I assume that the allocation for EOTAS was the allocation for the PRU?

The EOTAS allocation is for all pupils whose main education is other than at school (pupils who do not have main or current enrolment at a maintained school), based on the 2019 EOTAS collection. Pupils attending PRUs are included in this, not listed separately.

Funding allocation

1. Why does DEWi data show a different figure to the grant offer letter?

DEWi shows the total allocation awarded to each Local Authority. The letter awarding funding for 2020 to 2021 only covers 7 months of the total allocation. The remaining 5 months will be issued in the letter Local Authorities will receive for 2021 to 2022.

2. Several of our schools would like to spend their full year ALP allocation in the Autumn and Spring terms, as they feel that the first two terms of the year are most important in terms of ‘catch up’ sessions, rather than the Summer Term.

Whilst some schools would like to spend the whole allocation, other schools in other local authority areas may struggle to spend what they have received. The allocation was split based on 7/5 to allow planning time and getting the right people in place to deliver the programme. We cannot increase the funding for this financial year or carry anything forward to the next financial year.

3. The offer letter states that the funding will be targeted at year groups 7, 11, 12 and 13 but the distribution of funding in the DEWi download appears to treat all year groups equally. Please can you confirm how you want this funding allocated to schools?

The funding should be allocated to schools as outlined in the DEWi allocations.

4. Will Welsh Government inform schools of individual allocations and terms and conditions or should LA’s email schools to advise?

Local Authorities should be advising schools of their allocation. A principles document for schools has been published on our website, and they will need to agree plans with their challenge advisor.

Reporting requirements of the ALP

1. What level of reporting will be required for this programme?

A summary of how funding has been spent will form part of the operational reporting. Local Authorities will complete the expenditure statement at the end of the year, and it will be audited as part of that. Regions will also confirm through their statement of expenditure against the ALP budget lines.

2. What level of detail should be included in the school plan?

In accordance with the principles of the programme, planning and reporting is as flexible as possible. A set of expectations of schools will be issued shortly.

3. Should monitoring requirements fall in line with that requested on the FE side?

In terms of plans / monitoring, the school and post-16 requirements are as similar as possible, with schools with sixth forms advised to develop one plan for the whole spend.

Post-16 queries

1. Is there further post-16 funding available in 2021 to 2022?

A number of queries have asked whether the £4.187m allocated for catch up learning will be continued in the next financial year. Unfortunately, the answer to this is no. The £4.187m was allocated for catch up activity in the 2020 to 2021 academic year, with full payment in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

2. How is this funding being used where students attend FEI provision? I can see how it would be used for 6th forms via local authorities but, as FEI’s are independent, don’t they draw down funding separately? I appreciate that some LA areas have a tertiary system but how does this work where there is a mixed market (of 6th forms and FEI’s)? Also, I assume that the funding is linked with, but additional to the £29m for schools?  

FEIs have received their own grant for catch up, which has been calculated in exactly the same manner by adding 5% to unit rate of funding. In regard to schools the additional funding should very much be linked to the £29m as it’s a whole school approach being adopted not separate pre-16/post-16 approaches.