Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

DfE: Eligibility for FE ITE bursaries, Academic Year 2023/24


Details of eligibility for FE ITE bursaries for 2023/2024 from the DfE.


The Department for Education has confirmed the availability of FE ITE bursaries for
AY23/24. Following conversations with providers, we are issuing this guidance note to clarify
the position on bursary eligibility and Ofsted grading of providers.
We intend to amend the funding manual published on as soon as possible; this note
is issued as an interim measure in the interest of providing clarity to providers as they
consider submitting bursary applications on behalf of their trainees.
This relates exclusively to bursaries for Further Education ITE and has no impact
whatsoever on separate arrangements for bursaries relating to QTS programmes.
It must also be understood that this relates only to eligibility for FE ITE bursaries – there is
no change to the eligibility rules for student finance in relation to FE ITE programmes.

1. FES and ITE inspection judgements

A provider’s eligibility to make FE bursary applications for AY23/24 is dependent on that
provider’s most recent published Ofsted grade for overall effectiveness following an Initial
Teacher Education (ITE) inspection. Providers (e.g. FE Colleges) may also have been
inspected by Ofsted under the Further Education and Skills (FES) framework – the grade
received for such an inspection is irrelevant when considering bursary eligibility and
will not be taken into account. A provider inspected under the ITE framework may offer one or more phases of ITE – i.e., early years, primary, secondary and/or further education. Separate grades are published by Ofsted for each phase of provision offered. For the purposes of assessing FE ITE bursary eligibility, only the further education judgement will be taken into account.

Example: Provider A delivers ITE in the primary, secondary and FE phases. In its most
recent inspection, the provider was judged Requires Improvement for its FE phase provision,
and Good for its primary and secondary phase (QTS) provision. In this example, the provider
is ineligible to submit FE bursary applications.

Example: Provider B has a judgement of Requires Improvement for its secondary (QTS)
provision and is graded Good for its FE phase provision. Provider B is therefore eligible to
submit FE bursary applications.

2. “Most recent” inspection grade

In line with usual practice, when assessing eligibility to make FE ITE bursary applications,
we will consider only a provider’s most recent published Ofsted grade, regardless of the
date of the inspection.

3. Changes to Ofsted grade following bursary application

A provider’s eligibility to submit FE ITE bursary applications is considered on the day that
the application(s) is/are submitted to DfE. If a bursary application is successfully made by
an eligible provider and confirmed by DfE, and an Ofsted inspection subsequently awards a
judgement of Requires Improvement or Inadequate to that provider for their FE ITE provision
(whether before or after the relevant trainee’s course has commenced), we will honour the
bursary in full. However, the provider becomes ineligible to submit further applications as
soon as the judgement of Requires Improvement or Inadequate is published.

4. Validation and Franchising arrangements

The terms validation and franchising are applied as set out in the QAA UK Quality Code1, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator2 and Office for Students Regulatory Framework3
and Ofsted’s ITE inspection framework4.

Where an FE ITE programme is delivered through a franchise arrangement, this is
inspected as a single entity by Ofsted, and the resulting grade will be the only one that is
relevant when we assess eligibility for FE ITE bursaries. Where FE ITE programmes are delivered through validation arrangements, each individual provider delivering programmes will be inspected by Ofsted and will receive a separate grade. It is the grade received by the individual provider (and not the validating partner) that determines whether the provider is eligible to submit FE ITE bursary applications.

Example: University A works with Colleges B, C and D via a franchise arrangement. A
single Ofsted grade is awarded to the partnership, which determines whether the provider is
eligible for FE ITE bursaries. Bursary applications should be submitted via the franchise
owner (here University A).

Example: University P validates an FE ITE course delivered by Colleges Q and R. Colleges
Q and R are inspected separately by Ofsted. College Q receives a judgement of Good for its
FE ITE provision; College R is judged Inadequate. College Q is eligible to apply for FE ITE
bursaries; College R is not.

Queries relating to this note, or to FE ITE bursaries more generally, should be addressed to

1 Partnerships (
2 Section Glossary - OIAHE
3 Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England - Office for
Initial teacher education (ITE) inspection framework and handbook - GOV.UK (