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Use it or Lose it: There is Funding Available for CPD in Your School

Guest post by Ben Barton, Head of Research and Development, National College of Education

Since April 2017 there has been a revolution in professional learning thanks to the advent of the apprenticeship levy. The levy will raise over £3bn a year, which schools can access* to support new apprentices and existing staff. This legislation provides schools with an unparalleled opportunity to invest in staff, build leaders and retain staff through funded apprenticeships.

What is an Apprenticeship?

When we hear the word ‘apprentice’, we tend to think of a 16 year old, just left school, training to be a plumber, builder or mechanic but apprenticeships are for everyone, in every profession and at every level (from GCSEs through to Bachelor’s or Master’s degree). This includes education; school staff, teachers and leaders who all have the opportunity to access apprenticeships through programmes such as those offered by The National College of Education.

So, what is the Apprenticeship Levy and who pays for it?

  • From April 2017, all employers paying over £3,000,000 in wages to employees living in England will begin to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • The Apprenticeship Levy is set at 0.5% of the total wage bill and is claimed by HMRC monthly at source.
  • Schools, Multi Academy Trusts and Local Authorities must pay the Levy.
  • The government will top-up any funds paid into the Online Apprenticeship Service by 10%.

What can the levy funding be used for?

  • Funding can only be used to purchase Apprenticeship Training (Frameworks or Standards) and cannot directly be used to pay for other training or associated costs e.g. Apprenticeship wages or salaries, travel expenses etc.
  • An apprentice can be any age but must be employed in a real job and the apprenticeship must also relate to a real job.
  • 20% of the apprenticeship must be off the job training with evidence to prove this
  • The best bit? If schools spend more than their levy pot, the government will contribute 90% of that over-spend through co-investment.

Schools, Multi-Academy Trusts and Local Authorities must pay the Levy whether you use it or not, and unfortunately with budgets getting tighter CPD opportunities for staff can often be few and far between. The apprenticeship levy is essentially ‘free’ (pre-paid) money for CPD so why not use it?

EES for Schools has partnered with the National College of Education to offer three exciting programmes for school staff to access the apprenticeship levy:

We’re hosting an open day with loads of information about the courses and the levy. It’s taking place on 23 May in Essex so make sure you book your place now so you don’t miss out.

For further information about the Apprenticeship Levy from, visit

About the National College of Education

The National College of Education (NCE) is an independent college of education that is dedicated to raising the status of the teaching profession by providing outstanding professional learning opportunities for all career pathways within education.

As a Registered Apprenticeship Provider, the NCE has been at the forefront of delivering support, advice and guidance to schools and academy trusts, helping these organisations to get best value out of the £150m spent by schools each year on the levy.

*Access to funding is not guaranteed, eligibility is subject to qualifying for a place on an apprenticeship programme, you must be a permanent employee with permission from your school and a British Citizen or have the right to work in the UK.