12th December 2017


The Apprenticeship Levy for Schools: Let’s go back to basics

Since the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, many schools are yet to use the Levy and are still confused with how they should use their funds. 

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Levy and break it down in simple, easy to follow steps. 

Confusion around the Levy 

The Levy has been in place for six months, however our recent school survey showed that 81% of Levy paying schools are still to use any of their Levy pot. 

The Apprenticeship Levy was designed to improve the UK’s productivity by creating and funding three million apprenticeship starts by 2020. The process of paying and recouping the Levy can be complex, so we’ve put together a handy infographic to explain each party’s roles, step-by-step.

How much you need to pay 

Levy contributions are based on the school’s payroll for the year. While the vast majority of schools, in isolation, would not have a payroll of £3 million
or more (the threshold to start haapprenticeship levy for schoolsving to pay the Levy), those that are part of multi-academy trusts or a local authority school may find themselves paying into the Levy as part of this larger group.

In these cases, the school will be contributing their relative share of the overall Levy payment. If you’re not sure if your school is paying the Levy, contact your local authority or the trust that you are a part of.

The funds you’ve paid will go into the Apprenticeship Service Account (ASA) of your local authority or multi-academy trust and the government will contribute a further 10% on top of the amount paid in. Once this has been done the local authority or trust can start the process of commissioning a training provider and procuring apprenticeship training. Funds must be used within 24 months otherwise they will expire and other private companies and public sector organisations will be able to use your funds. 

What can the Apprenticeship Levy be used for? 

Many people see ‘apprenticeships’ and think it’s just about taking on a young person in an entry-level role. However, this is not the case – you can use your Levy funds to upskill existing staff, no matter what age, as long as the training is an apprenticeship framework or standard. So if you don’t have the budget for additional members of staff, you can still use the Levy to the benefit of your school.

Here at NST, we focus on our specialist areas of level 2 and 3 apprenticeship qualifications in early years and teaching assistants. However, there are many other apprenticeship qualifications offered by other training providers which might be of interest to schools such as business administration and management apprenticeships.

What are apprenticeship frameworks and standards?

Apprenticeship standards are replacing apprenticeship frameworks – they’re designed by employers to ensure apprenticeships support employer needs. They equip apprentices with the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours for a specific role.

Find out more about the difference between standards and frameworks in our blog here.

How much will it cost? 

The way apprenticeship funding works has changed – with apprenticeship standards and frameworks fitting into 15 funding band limits. Each funding band has an upper limit that indicates how much funding or government co-investment can be used to pay for apprenticeship training.

You can find out where your chosen apprenticeship standards or frameworks sit in the funding bands here.  

funding band limits for levy

Funding bands don’t have a lower limit – meaning you can negotiate varying costs depending on your needs and circumstances.

What next? 

Now you know everything to get you started with the Apprenticeship Levy – it’s time to put it all into practice. 

We can manage, implement and provide hands-on support for practically every element of the Apprenticeship Levy, working with you and your local authority or trust.

Talk to our team to find out more or sign up to one of our webinars:

Register for webinar