Financial Assistance

Giles Academy 16-19 Bursary Fund and Free School Meals Policy

What is the 16-19 Bursary Fund?

The Fund is a limited amount of money made available from the government through its funding body, the Education Funding Agency to provide assistance to students whose access to, or completion of education is inhibited by financial constraints or barriers.

The 16-19 Bursary Fund has two elements:

1. A Vulnerable Student Bursary of £1,200 a year for young people in full time education (30 weeks or more) in the following defined vulnerable groups:

  • in care
  • care leavers
  • in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit in place of Income Support, in their own right
  • in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Living or Personal Independence Payments in their own right

2. A Discretionary Bursary, this is made by Giles Academy to young people in ways that best fit the needs and circumstances of each individual student. Bursary awards are targeted towards those young people who face the greatest financial barriers to participation; such as the costs of:

Transport (to and from school) this includes; cost towards a bus pass or, if you are not on a reasonable bus route, a contribution towards the running cost of a vehicle (upto the equivalent cost of a bus pass). School equipment i.e. bag, basic essentials, textbooks etc. Basic uniform to be ordered from the schools supplier. Essential school visits.

Giles Academy will determine the assessment criteria for eligibility for discretionary bursaries and the frequency of payments for all awards. With exception to those students that will receive the ‘Vulnerable Student Bursary’, the school will either purchase items on behalf of the student or payments will be made via cheque upon receiving receipts for any school equipment purchased.

Who is eligible to apply for the 16-19 Bursary?

Students must satisfy one or more of the following criteria:-

  • be aged over 16 and under 19 at 31 August
  • meet the residency criteria in academic year funding regulations for post-16 provision
  • be participating in provision that is subject to inspection by a public body which assures quality (ie Ofsted), the provision must also be either funded directly by EFA or by EFA via a local authority otherwise publicly funded and lead to a qualification (up to and including Level 3) accredited by Ofqual or pursuant to Section 96 or the Learning and Skills Act 2000
  • a 16 to 19 traineeship programme

Who is not eligible for 16-19 Bursary Funding?

  • Students under 16 years of age or over 19 years of age on 31.08.16.
  • Students who do not meet the residency qualifications.
  • Students who do not fulfil any of the criteria described above.

Residency qualifications

All applicants should satisfy the residence criteria. This can be found at; http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/youngpeople/studentsupport/funding/b00203354/efa-funding

Proof of Income

Proof of household income will be required to support the application and should include 2 of the following:

  • Certified letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs regarding benefits and/ or household income.
  • Tax Credit Award Notice (most recent, full and up to date).
  • Certified letter from the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • P60 (additional evidence will also be required).
  • Self Employment Income evidence (3 x pay slips).

Any other information regarding means tested benefits.

How Giles Academy will assess applications and allocate 16-19 Bursary funding?

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is a limited fund. Initially students who are eligible for any level of funding should complete the application form and hand it to Mrs Garrard/ Mr Reed as soon as possible. Students who become eligible during the course of the academic year should contact the Sixth Form team so that they can make an application for funding based on their new circumstances.

It is important to note that the available fund is extremely limited. The school is under no obligation to make payments or reimbursements and failure to comply with the terms of the Attendance Policy and/or the Sixth Form Contract will result in further funding not being available. Students who are deemed eligible should be aware that to continue to receive their full allocation of bursary/funding throughout the year:

  • They must maintain a minimum of 95% attendance.
  • There must be no unauthorised absences during the school day or persistent lateness.
  • They must maintain acceptable levels of behaviour, as outlined in the schools CODE.

Students will only receive bursary funding if they have secured a minimum of 95% attendance at School including morning and afternoon registration. The only exceptions to this rule include the following:

  • Medical Procedure or illness supported by a Doctor’s Certificate, Hospital letter or letter from parents/carer.
  • Hospital Appointment (a hospital documentation or note from parent in planner).
  • University Interview/University Open Day.
  • School Trip Excursion. • Official School Closure i.e. snow day.
  • Official School Study Leave. Home Study can only be taken following a student’s final taught lesson of the day.

There may be occasions when cases have to be looked at on an individual basis. An example of these could include any of the following, although this list is not indepth:

  • Family/close friend’s funeral.
  • Sports trials/training/county selections.
  • Religious events.

What are the different levels of funding provided?

Vulnerable Support

You can get this if you are in one of the following categories:

  • You are living in care or have recently left living in care
  • You are in direct receipt of income support
  • You are disabled and receiving both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance If you think you are eligible for this £1,200 Bursary, please complete the application form and return along with your proof to the Sixth Form team.If you are successful, this bursary will be paid on a monthly basis via cheque

Discretionary Support

You could receive this level of funding if:

  • You have a gross annual household income of below £21,613.

Or

  • You are in receipt of Free School Meals. •

Or

  • Your household is in receipt of other income based means-tested benefits.

This Bursary will provide support for transport, school uniform, school equipment and essential school visits.

Emergency Support

You could receive this level of funding if you have an identifiable financial need and your gross annual household income is below £25,000. If you find yourself in this situation you will need to contact the Sixth Form team.

How do I use my Bursary?

If you qualify for Vulnerable Support funding then this money will be paid directly to you on a monthly basis. It is therefore up to you on how you choose to use it.

If you qualify for Discretionary funding you will complete an order/request form outlining the support needed, how it will be used and how it will help to support your education. This request will be processed and either granted or rejected. Where possible the school will pay the items directly e.g books, stationary, bus passes uniform etc.

Giles Academy will need to reserve 20% (including the 5% Administration fee) of the 16-19 Bursary amount provided. This is to accommodate changes in circumstance and ensure that requests for funding from students can be accommodated.

What happens if my financial circumstances change during the year?

A student receiving Bursary must immediately inform the Sixth Form Administrator of any changes in family circumstance that may affect their ‘Support Level’. If you are not in receipt of any level Bursary and your financial circumstances change during the academic year speak to the Sixth Form team.

How will I know whether I have qualified for the Bursary of not?

You will receive a letter confirming that you have been successful or not.

Appeals

Any student wishing to appeal against the Support Level allocated and/or a refusal should do so in writing within 2 weeks of receiving their letter of Support Allocation. Appeals should be made to the Sixth Form team. It is expected that further evidence to support the funding request will be provided by the student if called upon.

Free School Meals and Eligibility

Institution eligibility

To be eligible for a free meal, students must be enrolled in further education provision funded via Education Funding Agency at:

  • general further education colleges, including specialist colleges
  • sixth-form colleges
  • commercial and charitable providers
  • higher education institutions (HEIs) with 16 to 19 funding from EFA
  • specialist post-16 institutions (SPIs)
  • local authorities (LAs) and FE institutions directly funded for 16 to 19
  • Skills Funding Agency (SFA) only traineeship 16 to 18 providers
  • European Social Fund (ESF) only institutions
  • 16 to 19 only academies and free schools
  • 16 to 19 only maintained schools

Student eligibility

Age

Students must be aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August to be eligible for a free meal in the current academic year. Students who turn 19 during their study programme will remain eligible for a free meal until the end of the academic year in which they turn 19 or to the end of their study programme, whichever is sooner.

Students aged 19 to 24 who are subject to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) and ESF students aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August are also entitled to a free meal while attending their provision if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The following groups of students are not eligible for free meals in further education support:

  • students aged between 14 and 16 (these students are already covered by different provision, ie Free School Meals (FSM)
  • students aged 19 or over at the start of their study programme, unless they have an EHC plan
  • apprentices, including those with an EHC Plan

Eligible benefits

  • Free meals are targeted at disadvantaged students.
  • For the purposes of eligibility for free meals, disadvantage is defined by the students being in receipt of, or having parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit during the initial roll out of the benefit, Universal Credit

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when they, or a parent/guardian on their behalf, have made a successful application to Giles Academy. Feedback from institutions has indicated that there is some confusion about Working Tax Credit and whether children from families in receipt of it are eligible for free meals. Working Tax Credit is not a qualifying benefit for free meals, and a parent or student in receipt of Working Tax Credits only is not entitled to a free meal. With the exception of Child Tax Credit however, if a parent or student is in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits is also in receipt of Working Tax Credit then they are eligible for free meals, ie the qualifying benefit takes precedence over their receipt of Working Tax Credit.

Receipt of Child Tax Credit (of whatever amount) plus a household income of no more than £16,910 means the student is entitled to a free meal. Institutions do not need to undertake any additional calculations relating to the amount of the award and/or the household income.

EFA also wishes to remind institutions that at present only Child Tax Credit has an income threshold (no more than £16,190 as shown above). The income threshold applies solely to Child Tax Credit and not to any of the other qualifying benefits. Students must also satisfy the residency criteria set out on  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-education-funding-guidance

Verification of student eligibility

The student, or their parent/guardian, must submit an application for free meals to Giles Academy as soon as they are enrolled or as early as possible dependent on circumstances. As part of the application, Giles Academy asks that the student (or their parent/guardian) provides evidence of the award of the qualifying benefits set out above, for example an award notice or letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) or HMRC. Giles Academy uses a combined application form and process for free meals and the 16 to 19 Bursary.