Allocations methodology for the 16 to 19 Discretionary Bursary fund

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Closes 23 May 2019

Foreword by the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

Firstly, thank you. I would like to thank those of you who deal with our most financially deprived students most sincerely. You see the hardship that some of our students face on a daily basis, and I know how well you deal with the issues that they face, with sensitivity and care.  It is because you are closest to the issues that cause financial hardship for our students that I would like you to consider a change to the allocations methodology of the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary fund.

It seems clear that the local flexibilities you have to support students that are financially deprived are working well.  However, nationally, we could do better, and I feel we have a duty to do that. The financial support available to students varies across the country, but because of the way funding is distributed to providers, we are not supporting the students who are in the most financial need. That can’t be right.    

By considering a new methodology for the discretionary bursary I intend that we should target the available funding more specifically towards our students who can least afford to participate – that is, those who struggle the most to find money to buy a bus or train ticket day after day, or to find the money to buy essential equipment, or participate in their industry placement.  Without help, our students facing the greatest financial barriers will fall behind their peers since they are unable to take an active part in their course.

I appreciate that any refocusing of a fund such as this will mean that whilst some institutions will see increases in the funding available, others will see reductions. I would ask that you are as objective as possible recognising that when resources are scarce we need to be even more determined to target the available funding fairly. We need to support those who are most in need. Supporting our relatively better off students less, will mean more essential costs can be met for some of our poorest students. 

I would be very grateful if you would contribute to this consultation, and I look forward to seeing your responses.

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP

Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

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