Financial Assistance

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

What is the 16-19 Bursary Fund?

The 16-19 Bursary 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.

Changes for 2018 to 2019

To reflect the on-going rollout of Universal Credit, we have made an amendment to the wording of one of the bursary for vulnerable group categories. This category is now defined as a student who is receiving Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves and anyone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or a partner.

The vulnerable group category that refers to a student being in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments plus Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit has been re-worded slightly to aide clarity, reflecting feedback from stakeholders.

ESFA is making additional bursary funding available to institutions delivering extended work placements in the 2018 to 2019 academic year, to ensure that institutions do not need to use a disproportionate amount of their Capacity and Delivery Fund for student support to the detriment of capacity building. This one-off funding is designed to ensure institutions have sufficient bursary funds available to meet potential increased demand for help from any students who may need to travel further to access their placement and/or incur additional costs for equipment and clothing.

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 the 16-19 Bursary?

  • Students under 16 years of age or over 19 years of age on 31.08.18.
  • Students who do not meet the residency
  • Students who do not fulfil any of the criteria described

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

Types of Bursary

There are 2 types of 16-19 bursary available:

1.        Vulnerable student bursary: You could get a bursary worth up to £1,200, depending on circumstances and benefits. You could get up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • you’re in or recently left local authority care
  • you get Income Support or Universal Credit because you’re financially supporting yourself
  • you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
  • you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit

A letter of which must be provided to support your application. If you are successful with this application, this bursary will be paid on a monthly/termly basis via cheque.

2.        Discretionary bursary: You could get a discretionary bursary if you need financial help but do not qualify for a vulnerable student bursary. Discretionary Bursary awards are targeted towards those young people who face the greatest financial barriers to participation. You could receive this level of funding if one of the following is applicable:

  • You have a gross annual household income of below £21,613.
  • You are in receipt of Free School
  • Your household is in receipt of other income based means-tested

Giles Academy will take in to account annual household income, number of dependents for example, to cater to the individual needs of the student. This bursary can 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.

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 submit it to MrsGarrard/ Mr Reed.

Students who become eligible during the course of the academic year should contact Mrs Garrard/ Mr Reed, so an application for funding based on their new circumstances. Termly reminders will be sent to students/parents and carers, for both new applications and updates on current applicants.

Proof of household income will be required to support the application. Please include 2  of the following documents to support this application:

  • 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

It is important to note that the available fund is extremely limited. The school is under no obligation to make payments or re-imbursements and failure to comply with the terms of the Attendance Policy and/or the Sixth Form Learner agreement will result in further funding not being available.

Students who are deemed eligible should be aware of the following considerations which will be addressed to maintain allocation of bursary/funding throughout the year:

►  They must maintain a minimum of 95% attendance, 90% with evidence.

►  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.

Attendance Requirements

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
  • School Trip
  • Official School Closure i.e. snow
  • Official School Study 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 in depth:

  • Family/close friend’s
  • Sports trials/training/county
  • Religious

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/termly basis. It is therefore up to you on how you choose to use it to best support your education.

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 for the items directly, for example books, stationary, bus passes uniform etc. Giles Academy will determine the assessment criteria for eligibility for discretionary bursaries and the frequency of payments for all awards.

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 Mrs Garrard or Mr Reed, any changes in family circumstance that may affect their ‘Support Level’.

If a student is not in receipt of any level bursary and financial circumstances change during the academic year, please contact Mrs Garrard or Mr Reed, Sixth Form, Head of Sixth Form.

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

You will receive a letter confirming whether or not you have been successful with this application.

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 Mrs Garrard/ Mr Reed, Head of Sixth Form. It is expected that further evidence to support the funding request will be provided by the student if called upon.

Free School Meals

Changes for the 2018 to 2019 academic year

For the 2018 to 2019 academic year, the list of eligible benefits for free meals has been amended. From 1 April 2018, Universal Credit will have an income threshold (a maximum net earned income of £7,400). Students who were eligible for free meals immediately prior to 1 April 2018, but do not meet the new criteria after this date, will receive transitional protections and will continue to be eligible for free meals until the end of their course of study.

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

►  To be eligible to receive a free meal in the 2018 to 2019 academic year a student must be aged 16 or over but under 19 on 31 August 2018.

►  Students aged 19 or over are only eligible to receive a free meal if they are continuing on a study program they began aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’) or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

►  These 2 groups of aged 19 plus students can receive a free meal while they continue to attend education (in the case of a 19+ continuers, this must be the same program they started before they turned 19), as long as their eligibility continues.

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

  • students aged between 14 and 16 (these students are already covered by free school meals (FSM) provision)
  • students aged 19 or over at the start of their study program, unless they have an EHCP or are a 19+ continuer
  • apprentices, including those with an EHCP

Eligible benefits

Free meals are targeted at disadvantaged students. Free meals in further education defines disadvantage as 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 someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when they, or a responsible adult on their behalf, have made a successful application to the institution where they are enrolled.

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/student in receipt of Working Tax Credit only are not entitled to a free meal.

A parent or student must be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits set out above to be eligible. Qualifying benefits include the Working Tax Credit run on which is paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

The Department for Education has been working closely with the Department for Work & Pensions, other government departments and interested parties to establish new criteria for determining entitlements to free meals as the rollout of Universal Credit continues.

From 1 April 2018, any student who is in receipt of, or has parents who are in receipt of, Universal Credit must have a net earned annual income of no more than £7,400 in order to be eligible for free meals. This change will apply from the 2018 to 2019 academic year. Any further changes or clarifications about Universal Credit and free meals will be confirmed via an update to this guide.

Transitional protection arrangements

The introduction of new eligibility criteria under Universal Credit from 1 April 2018 will result in some households becoming eligible for free meals and others falling outside of the eligibility criteria. The Department for Education is introducing transitional protection arrangements to provide certainty for families and to ensure that they do not experience a sudden loss of free meals.

The protection arrangements are designed to be as straightforward as possible for institutions to implement. It will apply as follows:

  • From 1 April 2018, all students already receiving free meals will continue to receive free meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled This will apply even if their household earnings rise above the new threshold during that time.
  • Any student who becomes eligible for free meals after the threshold has been introduced will also continue to receive free meals during the Universal Credit rollout. This will apply even if they subsequently become ineligible during this period because their household earnings rise above the new

Institutions do not need to carry out any further eligibility checks for these protected families during this period. They may wish to note the students as ‘protected’ in their free meals auditable records.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any students receiving free meals who no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold) will continue to receive protection until they complete their 16 to 19 funded education.

19+ continuers and students aged 19 and over with EHCPs will continue to receive protection until the end of their current program of study.

Student who apply after 1 April 2018 and who have household earnings above the threshold will not be eligible for free meals.

These changes for the upcoming year are merely a snapshot. Please ensure that you fully read the updates using the links below.

Free School Meals

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-free-meals-in-further-education-funded-institutions#changes-for-the- 2018-to-2019-academic-year

16-19 Bursary Fund

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-bursary-fund-guide-2018-to-2019-academic-year

Verification of student eligibility

The student, or their parent/carer, must submit an application for free meals and/or the 16-19 Bursary Fund 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/carer) provides evidence of the award of the qualifying benefits, 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.