Rachel Leigh

Actual End Date on Apprenticeship Agreement 2023/24


Hi, Can anyone clarify the new rule in the 23/24 Apprenticeship Funding Rules regarding the apprenticeship agreement covering the actual duration.

New for Version 1:

54 We have clarified that the apprenticeship agreement must cover the actual duration of the apprenticeship (e.g. if the apprenticeship is extended, the apprenticeship agreement must also be extended).

If an apprentice goes past the planned end date for whatever reason should a new apprenticeship agreement be drawn up?  If so, what Planned End Date would use as you wouldn't necessarily know the what the 'actual date' is going to be until the apprentice is actually ended?

Thanks in advance.



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Jessica De Melo

Hi Rachel,

We require a new apprenticeship agreement whenever EPA changes (i.e. apprenticeship extends) so for us this includes apprentices who go past their planned end dates. We use a new apprenticeship end date based on when we think the apprentice will sit EPA. If they happen to delay or defer again, we create another version of the app agreement so this is in place for the actual duration.

We have some apprentices on version 3 of their agreements at the moment.


Ian Barrett

I'd be interested to know what providers currently do and what they intend doing as a result of the new clarification for 23-24? Do you/will you ensure that the Apprenticeship Agreement has a sufficient buffer to cope with most learners who go beyond planned end date or have a delayed EPA?  And what date do you use for any learners who go on a BIL - just the best guess based on when they are likely to return?  Do you have a process in place to look at the above for each learner to ensure that an updated Agreement is obtained for any that go beyond existing dates?


Martin West

225. Where the apprentice takes a break in learning and then returns to the same apprenticeship, they will return to the same funding rules they were following prior to their break. The employer must revise the apprenticeship agreement and the provider must revise the dates on the training plan, to account for the duration of the break. It must be clear that there have been multiple episodes of learning. The overall duration of the apprenticeship and the required volume of off-the-job training can remain the same (as though there had been no break in learning).

Connor Goulding

Ian Barrett, I'm considering adding a statement to the apprenticeship agreement which confirms that the agreement is in place for the duration of the programme, including EPA and any re-sits. This would only be to cover those that go beyond their planned end date, where not managed by a break in learning, as a new agreement would be sent out in those scenarios on return.

The resources required to send out and track returns of multiple apprenticeship agreements would be huge, and so I'm hoping this would suffice.

I e-mailed the ESFA yesterday to check this would satisfy the clarification and was pretty much told that they couldn't answer my question until the 1st August 2023 when the new rules came into play. Not particularly helpful when this is a document that must be in place prior to the start date, and you could have apprenticeship starts on the 1st August.. but there we go!

Would be interesting to hear other views on this.

Tracy Clement

Connor Goulding, well that sounds a very sensible solution to me but I am not sure if that works legally?


Martin West

These requirements are already covered in the Apprenticeship agreements notes and guidance in the existing funding rules.

Agreement notes:

Why is an apprenticeship agreement required?

This includes: An apprenticeship agreement must be put in place when an individual starts a relevant apprenticeship programme and should remain in place throughout the entire apprenticeship.

What should happen with the signed apprenticeship agreement?

The employer must keep the agreement for the duration of the apprenticeship and give a copy to the apprentice and to the training provider.

What is a break in learning?

A break in learning is where an individual takes a break of at least 4 weeks from their apprenticeship training but plans to return to it in the future. This can be with or without a break from work. When the apprentice restarts the programme, all documentation, including the apprenticeship agreement and training plan, must be reviewed and updated to account for the duration of the break in learning.

Funding rules

Although not clear in the funding rules it has always been assumed that the Agreement must remain in force for the duration of the Apprenticeship and as such the end date may have to be revised by the employer.

P301.4 Extend the practical period of the apprenticeship agreement as required.

It’s not a new requirement but it has just been clarified in the 23/24 rules to match the notes on the agreement.


Sam Bern

We're reviewing our Apprenticeship Agreement process in light of the clarification and I want to make sure I'm not over complicating the process.

The learner passes their Planned end date, they have engaged in the majority of their OTJ however still require further all be it a smaller quantity of OTJ. As their planned end date is being pushed into the future, this would require a recalculation of the 20% off-the-job. The new Apprenticeship Agreement also requires a new Training plan. which needs to be signed off by all three parties as dates in one have to match the other.


Lets say the learner now requires another six months to complete their apprenticeship. This might be linked with re-doing work for their portfolio required pre-gateway. If that learner doesn't require the amount of training that justifies the 6 months extension with 20% off-the-job is that learner no longer eligible? Are they now a leaver?

Martin West

You do not update the OTJT hours on the ILR when they pass their planned end date, but you do have to record and amend the Training plan the further delivery required. The apprenticeship agreement needs to stay in place so only needs amendments to the ‘End date of apprenticeship’ and the ‘Estimated end date of practical period’ the notes confirm an apprenticeship agreement must be put in place when an individual starts a relevant apprenticeship programme and should remain in place throughout the entire apprenticeship.


Sam Bern

Thanks Martin, I know I'm reading too much into this, however if we amend the practical period end date according to Note 6 don't we also have to calculate the new OTJ based on the below statement?


"over the planned duration of the apprenticeship practical period"



Eleanor Piper

I'm going to admit I am confused here.

At the beginning of the apprenticeship, we set a planned practical end date.  This is the same across the Apprenticeship Agreement and the Training Plan

The planned practical end date goes onto the ILR as the Learning planned end date, and the ILR Specification says that it must remain constant and should not change (https://guidance.submit-learner-data.service.gov.uk/23-24/ilr/entity/LearningDelivery/field/LearnPlanEndDate)

So far it all makes sense. However, if we pass the planned practical end date and the learner is not ready for gateway, and remains on programme (assuming that a learner is simply slower that expected in completing the programme, and hasn't had a break in learning)............

As above, paragraph 54 in the new funding rules says " the provider must have evidence that the apprentice has an apprenticeship agreement with their employer, from the start of and for the actual duration of their apprenticeship. "

But paragraph 56.4.3 says that "the practical period start date aligns with the learning start date in the ILR and the practical period end date aligns with the planned learning end date in the ILR"

So how do we update the paperwork to reflect the learner running late and ensure that they are covered by a valid AA through to the completion of EPA, if we can't update the date in the ILR and the paperwork and the ILR need to match?

What am I missing here, as it seems self-contradictory?


Kay Mellanby

Did we get any clarity on this as its very confusing? Is it ok to look at re issuing revised AA's with a new EPA date if the learner drifts past the original anticipated EPA date? Even though the dates will not match on DAS or on the Training Plan?


Simon Liversedge

I have heard V2 of the funding rules will be released next week so there may be some further clarity. We spoke to our account manager and he informed us we do not need an updated apprenticeship agreement as long as we have evidence that we have discussed and replanned where the apprentice goes OOF. We have an action plan for OOF learners so using this. 

I know this won't be the answer that everyone gets from the SD but as its come direct from our contract manager we are using this until informed other wise in updated rules. 

Martin West

Ver 2 of the funding rules is out but I can see no applicable changes re Apprenticeship Agreement.


Sharon Lillywhite

Hi Simon, did you get any further with the OOFs? we are about to start a process of sending out all our OOFs new App Agreements,but if we have clarification that evidence of re planning activity is enough, this will eliminate this huge task to do this as our apprentices are re planned, just not had the forms yet.

Also can i ask , if a learner does all her OTJ but still not in gateway and had no new end date agreed, do they legally still have to pay for study time to complete the course to gateway? We have an OOF, OTJ logged to 20% but still not at gateway and the employer is now questioning, do they still have to pay to release her when technically the agreement has expired. Talks are in to extend as i type but its a good answer to have if needed again.

Martin West

Link to a webinar on the 23/24 rules on the subject where the ESFA confirm the Apprenticeship agreement should be updated when an apprentice goes past the planned end date.


The funding rules cover all the circumstances such as BIL and where the agreement is extended but is not specific on where the planned end date is exceeded, and training continues but the webinar confirms the requirement.

V2 of the funding rules has been released but no change re the Apprenticeship Agreement.

As per the review section if the planned end date is extended then so should the Apprenticeship Agreement, this would be the case where the training plan includes new learning after the planned end date.

58 We have clarified that the apprenticeship agreement must cover the actual duration of the apprenticeship (e.g. if the apprenticeship is extended, the apprenticeship agreement must also be extended).



Simon Liversedge

Hi Sharon Lillywhite

I can only advise that you speak with your contract manager as we did, that way you hold the evidence should you need it that they have confirmed either way. As ours has done we are not updating App agreements but will do for new starts from 1st Aug 2023 so will start to get these updated next year when they go OOF. 

For the other question I am not aware of any documented requirement for them to continue to give them additional OTJ if the planned has already been met, however it would be a discussion with that employer to replan any activities and put in place an action plan to get the apprentice to complete. A good employer should still want to give them time to put towards their apprenticeship to help them achieve so having a meeting to confirm and put a good plan in place is what we would do. 


Eleanor Piper

I have emailed the ESFA with the query below (I sent this before the new funding rules version came out).  This was escalated to the Technical Funding Team on 26/10, no response yet but i will share when I hear back.

Please can you advise on the correct dates to use when extending an Apprenticeship Agreement when a learner is late in completing. 

I am referring to a situation where the learner remains in the same Period of Training, i.e. they have not had a break in learning or disruption to their programme but are simply slower in completing than was originally planned.

Rule 54 in the 2023 funding rules now clarifies that  the apprenticeship agreement must cover the actual duration of the apprenticeship (e.g. if the apprenticeship is extended, the apprenticeship agreement must also be extended).

Rule 56.4.3 says that the estimated end date of practical period on the apprenticeship agreement must align with the planned learning end date in the ILR.

However, the ILR Specification tells us that  “if a learner continues their study beyond the date planned at the start of the learning aim, this should be reflected in the learning actual end date field and the learning planned end date must remain unchanged.” (https://guidance.submit-learner-data.service.gov.uk/23-24/ilr/entity/LearningDelivery/field/LearnPlanEndDate)

Please can you clarify, if we are issuing updated AAs to learners who are late in completing and who remain in the practical stage of their apprenticeship (not yet through gateway), which of the end dates should be changed to reflect the actual duration of the apprenticeship?  The end date of apprenticeship, the estimated end date of practical period, both or neither?  

Should the estimated end date of practical period stay the same so that it matches the ILR, or should it be updated to reflect the actual planned duration?

Erica Phelpstead

I am reading all these replies and i am still not fully the wiser.  We have a process in place for new starts after August 2023, but there a few admin 'nightmares!' here.  Is it the 'planned learning end date' to be revised and agreed or the 'apprenticeship planned end date' (inc EPA)  As you cannot change the AS Account PEDs or the ILR dates (unless a BIL), we cannot simply issue a version 2 of our TPs and AAs from PICSWEB as these are prepopulated from the ILR fields, so we are having to create manual form amendments to support the proposed new dates.  Really time consuming!

Any snippets of advice on how to manage this gratefully received.