16 to 19 funding: how it works

An overview of the 16 to 19 funding formula.

Applies to England

For information

This page provides an overview of how we calculate 16 to 19 funding. The first 2 sections provide general information about this page and the guidance we have available. The following sections provide information on all elements of the 16 to 19 funding formula.

We have published information for 16 to 19 funded institutions on how funding will work in academic years 20222021 to 20232022 and 20232022 to 20242023..

The section on additional funding elements has guidance on:

  • high needs funding
  • care standards
  • student support
  • teachers’ pension scheme grant

You can find further information on our main collection page for funding education for 16 to 19 year olds and in our published funding guidance .

New for 20232022 to 20242023

On 27 October 2021, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a three-year spending review outcome for 16 to 19 education, making available an extra £1.6 billion in 2024 to 2025 financial year compared with 2021 to 2022. This is in addition to the £291m for 16 to 19 education in 2021 to 2022 and the £400m that the government provided in 2020 to 20212021..


We fund sixth-form colleges, further education (FE) colleges, sixth-forms in schools, sixth-forms in academies, special schools, special academies, independent learning providers (ILPs), local authorities (LAs), special post-16 institutions (SPIs) and some higher education institutions (HEIs).(HEIs). We fund these institutions to provide study programmes for young people.

We fund:

  • students aged 16 to 19

  • students up to the age of 25 when they have an education, health and care (EHC)(EHC) plan

  • 14-

    14 to 16 year-olds who are directly enrolled into eligible FE institutions

  • home educated students of compulsory school age at any FE college

We use a national funding formula to calculate an allocation of funding to each institution, each academic year. We fund special schools and special academies using place numbers only. We do not use the national funding formula for these institutions.

We calculate the basic funding for institutions using national funding rates, which depend on the size of their students’ study programmes. These rates are regardless of which type of institution they study at or what they study. We then apply the other elements of the funding formula, as described below. To attract funding, a student must meet the published eligibility criteria, such as residency requirements. These are set out in the funding regulations guide for the appropriate academic year. Students must stay on their study programmeprogrammes for a certain amount of time to qualify for funding. Further information about qualifying periods is available in the student numbers section.

Funding formula and study programmes

The funding formula funds institutions to deliver study programmes to their students. At enrolment, the institution and the student agree what each student is going to study. A learning agreement/timetable is drawn up showing what the study programme is and the qualification and non-qualification planned hours that make up the study programme.

The study programme must be tailored to the prior attainment of each student, have clear study and/or employment goals reflecting the student’s prior attainment, show progression in learning, and should include:

  • substantial qualifications or work experience

  • maths and English for students who have not achieved grade 9 to 4, A*-C GCSE in these subjects by age 16

  • high-quality work experience

  • added value non-qualification activity

Most study programmes have a core aim . The core aim of a study programme is either a substantial qualification which can be academic or vocational, or work experience. It will usually be the component with the largest amount of timetabled activity associated with it. Study programmes can only have one core aim at a time. Core aims are an essential part of the funding allocations calculation.

How the funding formula works

We use a funding formula to calculate institutions’ allocations each academic year. There are several elements within the funding formula that make up the core programme funding, total programme funding and overall total funding. The diagram below shows the elements of the funding formula.

Figure 1: elements of the 16 to 19 funding formula that make up your funding allocation

16 to 19 funding formula diagram

Core programme funding includes the following elements multiplied together:

  • student numbers

  • funding rate per student (dependent on funding band)

  • retention factor

  • programme cost weighting

with the following elements then added to that figure:

  • level 3 programme maths and English payment

  • disadvantage funding

  • large programme funding

and the total multiplied by:

  • area cost

Total programme funding includes the following elements:

  • condition of funding adjustment (subtracted), plus(subtracted) plus

  • advanced maths premium payment

  • high value courses premium

  • T Levels industry placement funding (all added)

Total funding includes the following elements (all added):

  • care standards funding

  • capacity and delivery fund

  • high needs students funding

  • student support funding

You will find a full description of each element within the funding formula and how they are used on this page.

The data used to calculate each element is taken from data returns submitted by institutions. This information is mainly collected via the individualised learner record (ILR)(ILR) , for FE institutions, and the autumn school census, for schools and academies. Institutions are required to submit regular and accurate data returns to the department.

For FE institutions, both the Funding Information Service (FIS)(FIS) and Submit Learner Data provide ESFA funding reports. This enables institutions to check their data is accurate.

We created the post-16 interactive school census tool to help schools and academies submit accurate autumn census returns. This interactive tool also provides information on how we use the data returned in the autumn census to calculate funding for schools and academies. 16 to 19 funding reports are available in COLLECT, the Department for Education’s centralised data collection and management system, throughout the Autumn census returns window. We also publish 16 to 19 funding reports guidance within the school census user manual.

For 16 to 19 institutions,institutions we provide an allocation calculation toolkit (ACT) before the final allocation statements have been issued. This toolkit demonstrates to institutions how we have used their data and the various elements of the funding formula for their organisation. We also publish explanatory notes to guide institutions through their revenue funding allocation statement. We will publish these when statements are released.

Further information is in the funding regulations guide and the rates and formula guide.

Programme funding: core elements

We have published more information about these core elements in the relevant sections of the funding rates and formula guidance.

Funding ratesRates

We determine the funding rate for each student by the size of their study programme based on their planned hours.

We fund all 16- and 17-year-old full-timefull time students at the same national funding rate per student, per year. The funding rate can vary between academic years.

Funding rates are set out in the national funding rate sections of the guidance for the academic years 20222021 to 20232022 and 20232022 to 2024.2023.

The guidance also contains information on how we decide student numbers for:

  • new institutions

  • closing institutions

  • institutions transferring provision from one to another

  • institutions who are increasing the number of students (in-year growth)

  • merging institutions

Other elements of core programme funding

These elements of the funding formula use historic data based on the latest full year. We have published a summary of what data we will use for 16 to 19 allocations for 20232022 to 2024.2023.

Where there is no historic data, for example for new institutions, we use averages for a similar type of institution.


Retention means whether a student completed their programme (were retained) or withdrew/dropped out. The retention factor gives institutions less funding to compensate for students who had less delivery and therefore who incur less cost.

More information on retention criteria and funding for withdrawing students is described in the 16 to 19 funding information.

Programme cost weightings

Programme cost weightings (PCWs)(PCWs) provide an uplift for subjects that cost more to deliver. PCWs aredeliver. PCWs are determined by the core aim’s sector subject area (SSA)(SSA) tier 2 classification.

A list of PCWs isof PCWs is given in the funding rates and formula guidance for the relevant year.

Level 3 programme maths and English payment

This additional maths and English funding is provided to support the delivery of maths and English to those students on substantial level 3 study programmes (including T Levels) who have not yet attained a grade 9 to 4 GCSE or equivalent in either or both of these subjects.

Students who have not yet attained a grade 9 to 4 GCSE or equivalent in maths and/or English will attract:

  • a single £750 payment per subject for a 2-year programme orprogramme or
  • a single £375 payment per subject for a 1-year programme

Allocations for this payment are based on full-year ILR orfull-year ILR or School Census data.

We have published further information about how the payment is calculated.

Disadvantage funding

Disadvantage funding is made up of 2 blocks: one to account for students’ economic deprivation, and one to account for low prior attainment in English and maths. Disadvantage funding is not separated and providers are free to choose the best ways to use this additional funding to attract, retain and support disadvantaged students and those with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Large programme uplift element

Large programme funding supports students who take much larger study programmes in order to prepare for work and university. It gives providers the ability to stretch their most able students by offering a broad range of qualifications.

Area cost uplift

The costs of delivering education in London and the South East are higher than the rest of England. Institutions in these parts of England get additional funding through the area cost uplift.

Programme funding: additional elements

We have published more information about these additional elements in the relevant sections of the funding rates and formula guidance.

Maths and English condition of funding

StudentsWe doinggive studyextra programmesfunding andto Tproviders Levelsto mustdeliver study maths and/orand English whento theystudents dodoing notsubstantial alreadylevel hold3 astudy GCSEprogrammes grade 9 to 4 (a standard pass grade) or equivalentT qualification in these subjects.Levels.

This requirement is a condition of funding and we remove funding from future allocations for students who do not meet it.

Advanced maths premium

The purpose of the advanced maths premium supportsis to support the sector to grow the number of students studying high quality maths qualifications to level 3. The funds can be used to provide whatever support a provider deems necessary to do this.

We are continuing to fund the advanced maths premium in 20232022 to 2024.2023. We give institutionsproviders additional funding to increase the number of students studying for certain advanced maths qualifications.

High value courses premium

The high value courses premium is additional funding to encourage and support delivery of selected substantial level 3 study programmes (including T Levels) in selected A level subjects or Sector Subject Areas (SSAs) that lead to higher wage returns. Providers will receive £600£400 per eligible student per year. We have published full eligibility and payment details on GOV.UK.

T Levels industryIndustry placementPlacement funding

Industry providersPlacements shouldare delivera placementscompulsory inelement lineof with the industry placements delivery guidance.

We fund T LevelLevel. providersPlacements aare totalto ofbe £550delivered perin studentline forwith the industrypublished placementstandards elementand ofprinciples. theWe Twill Levelfund programme,Industry Placements at £275 per student infor each of the 22-years years of the T Level. WePayments paywill be allocated for the T Level student numbers agreed with institutions.providers.

ThisWhere fundinga isprovider toalso supporthas an allocation of the infrastructureIndustry Placement Capacity and resourceDelivery requiredFund (CDF) a corresponding reduction will be made to plan,the source,number deliverof students funded through the CDF. For example, a provider with 100 places funded through the CDF and monitoran industryallocation placements.of It40 isT notLevel tostudents supportwill employerbe costsallocated placement funding for hostingthe placements.40 T Level students in their mainstream allocation and 60 places through CDF.

Additional funding elements outside the programme funding formula

We calculate some elements of 16 to 19 funding outside the formula.

Care standards

Care standards (residential) funding is for those institutions who have residential accommodation for students under the age of 18. The Care Standards Act 2000 puts extra responsibilities on these institutions, and these mean higher costs.

The funding rates and formula guide provides more information about Care Standards and how it is calculated.

Capacity and delivery funding (CDF) - for CDF-funded providers with an Ofsted rating of ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ only


The industry placement CDF helpsplacement CDF helps institutions prepare to deliver substantive industry placements for students on vocational and technical study programmes at levels 2 and 3. The 2022eligibility tocriteria 2023may academicchange yearin wasfuture theyears finalto yearline ofup funding for providers rated as ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted. Those CDF-funded providers with andeveloping OfstedT ratingLevel ofpolicy. ‘requiresThe improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ are able to access this funding for oneindustry finalplacements yearis ina therate 2023per tostudent 2024 academic year.payment.

The funding is additional to the mainstream allocation, which already funds work experience for all students through the planned hours for employability, enrichment and pastoral (EEP) activity.

More information on CDFon CDF is available on GOV.UK.

High needs funding

High needs funding is for institutions that have students who(HNS) arereceive assessedelement by2 theand local3 authorityfunding. 16 into whose18 areahigh they are resident as having complex special educational needs and/orstudents disabilitieswill (SEND),often whichhave meansan thathave thean authorityEHC assessesplan theor costsa statement of theirspecial additionaleducational SENDneeds support(SEN). as19 moreto than25 £6,000high perneeds student.students Institutions will receivealways extra funding directly from the local authority for these students, who will often (always in the case of 19- to 25-year-olds) have an education,EHC healthplan. HNS andfunding carehas (EHC)3 planparts:

  • Element drawn1 up by the local authority. As well as the normal programme funding, institutions receive:funding

    • High

      Element needs2 place funding,additional paideducation atsupport thefunding: rate of £6,000 per place by ESFA, from deductions made from local authorities’ high needs funding allocations, on the basis of data supplied by authorities or individualised learning record (ILR) data, depending on the type of institutionstudent

    • High

      Element needs3 top-up funding,funding: which is additional funding determinedprovided on a per-student basis and paid directly by thetheir relevant local authority, for the costs of additional support in excess of £6,000.authority

    We have published more information in the high needs funding: 2023 to 2024 operational guide: High needs funding arrangements: 2023 to 2024arrangements. guidance.

    Student support

    Help is available to young people in education via a range of student support schemes.

    Teachers’ pensions scheme employer contribution grant payments

    We have published guidance for further education providers about the teachers’ pension scheme employer contribution grant payments up to and including 2022 to 2023. We will provide details of the future arrangements of this grant in due course.payments.

    Qualifications funded for 16-16 to 19-year-olds19 year olds

    We fund qualifications that meet the following criteria:

    ESFA funding validity for ESFA funded qualifications and eligible work experience activity on the Learning Aims Reference Service (LARS). Qualifications approved for teaching to 16 to 19 year olds that meet the maths and English condition of funding are also in LARS.

    EligibleActivity activity that is not part of a qualification can be funded. The planned hours for that activity in the study programme can be counted for funding purposes as non-qualification activity.

    Home educated (EHE)(EHE) students and 14-14 to 16-year-olds16 -year-olds in FE and sixth-formsixth form colleges

    We fund EHE studentsfund EHE students for part time courses in FE institutions. If an institution recruits an EHE studentan EHE student for a full-timefull time course, then they are no longer home-educatedhome educated and the institution will need to meet the criteria for direct recruitment.

    EHE studentsEHE students are returned in the ILR inthe ILR in exactly the same way as other 16+ students.

    We fund 14-14 to 16-year-olds when they are enrolled in sixth-formsixth form or FE colleges that meet certain criteria. 14-14 to 16-year-olds16-year- olds who are in a school or academy are funded from the usual pre-16 school funding allocation.

    Full guidance on 14-14 to 16-year-olds in full-time further education is available on GOV.UK.

Published 11 September 2015
Last updated 1728 MarchApril 20232022 + show all updates
  1. We've updated the page for the 2023 to 2024 academic year.

  2. Updated to include information on 2022 to 2023 funding.

  3. We have updated the 16 to 19 funding guide for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

  4. We have updated the page with information for the 2020 to 2021 academic year

  5. A video explaining the allocations process for academic year 2019 to 2020 has been added.

  6. This page has been refreshed to include guidance and information on 16 to 19 revenue funding allocations for academic year 2019 to 2020.

  7. Updated dates, CCP references to ILP. Added a new section about application of retention.

  8. A video explaining the allocations process for academic year 2017 to 2018 has been added.

  9. General update to page to reflect current allocation year.

  10. First published.