Ben James

Extending PED by more than the BIL duration


We've had a spate of BIL returners, so this question has become quite the topic of conversation again. I feel like there's always been a bit of wiggle room (P229 in 23/24) because the rule says things like to "account for the break" and "can remain the same" rather than must do 'x' in 'x' way.  

Few questions to see what others do:

  1. Has anyone got anything written down from the service desk confirming that we're categorically not supposed to (or can) extend the PED following a BIL by more than the duration of the break? 
  2. If people are extending by more than the break duration, what are you doing if your planned hours are now less than the minimum (combined) duration? Relying on the fact that your actual hours will be more than the original planned hours?
  3. If people are extending by only the planned duration, are you recording the calculated dates on the ILR and the actual planned dates on the paperwork, and adding some kind of rationale for the discrepancy? 



No one has replied to this post.

Ruth Canham-James

I was waiting to see what others replied, but I'll be brave 😂

I tell our delivery team that they have to have really good reason to extend a PED by more than the duration of the break, and they must document this, and make sure the re-planned activity takes this into account. It can't look like an excuse to avoid late completion (though that's not really a worry at the moment).

Nothing written down from ESFA, but until the rules say "must", I'm interpreting that as optional. Also, we've had several apprentices go on a BIL after their original PED, (they were running behind) so we have to extend by more in that case!

Good question about the combined duration. At the moment, we stick with the original Planned OTJ. If the student was already behind on OTJ before they go on a break, adding both durations together to come up with a new Planned OTJ makes it an impossible target. If a student was behind and didn't go on a break (just went past the PED) we wouldn't need additional OTJ. If we started getting measured on timely achievement, I can see why this might be an issue as it could look like we're manipulating stats. I think if it was clearly a proper break, with good justification for the extension, I'd hope we could argue it.

Ben James

Appreciate the bravery!

Let's say someone went on a break for 6 months (6M). They come back and have a new PED, which if we do the 'calculated' way would be PED+6M. What if some of the activities they are required to do as part of their programme (e.g., scheduled teaching) are not due to take place/conclude until PED+8M (because universities don't generally do roll-on roll-off courses).. would that, in your view, constitute a really good reason for extending the PED by more than just the break duration? 

I understand the conventional interpretation is usually followed to (amongst other things) preserve funding fidelity and mitigate against any OTJ issues.. but an (unintended?) consequence is that your paperwork and the ILR  are different. The former reflects reality, the latter reflects what you 'need' it to for funding. Not the absolute end of the world, of course, but frustrating and untidy. 

Martin West

The Accountability framework does include ‘Apprentices past planned end date’ and could be seen as a replacement of the previous timely achievement reporting.

I do agree there may be circumstances where the planned end date could be extended by more than the time required to ‘account for the break’ but the principle in the funding rules that the panned end date (original duration) must not be changed indicates that this should only be recorded on the training plan and that the ILR should record the time to account for the break or to do otherwise could be seen as a method of reducing Apprenticeship past planned end date reporting.

Devil’s advocate opinion.

Ruth Canham-James

I don't disagree Martin 😊 I would always avoid it. In truth, we rarely have them want to extend the PED by more than the assumed amount.

The situation where the delivery model means the last lessons just are on a certain date is interesting. If we report the new PED as before that, that seems odd when we know it's not going to be true. I think we might allow it, but equally, what's the issue if we didn't? The paperwork doesn't have to match the ILR. Any student who goes past their PED normally, has to get the agreement extended to a date that's not in the ILR. 

The other consideration might be the employer finances. If the duration is changed, that redistributes the monthly payments I think? That may be a good or a bad thing for a levy payer who's carefully managing their funds. It's less confusing if you can keep the same monthly payment amount.

The only one where you can't extend as assumed, are those already passed PED. For them, we should already have extended the agreement, and have a new estimated end date. The question for those is then, do we always just give the restart something like a week duration, knowing it's arbitrary, or do we extend based on the renegotiated end date plus length of BIL?