Apprenticeship levy to cost schools £110m

CREDIT: This story was first seen in Tes

Apprenticeship levy to cost schools £110m, but only half of single-school academies have to pay – compared with all maintained schools, DfE estimates.

Tes reports that the apprenticeship levy will hit more than 16,000 schools, which will have to pay a combined £110m into the fund, according to Department for Education estimates.

But, while all maintained schools are expected to contribute to the levy, the DfE predicts only half of single-school academies will be covered.

The levy, introduced this financial year, is a tax of 0.5%, which can be used to train apprentices.

Department for Education document published today states: “We estimated that over 16,000 schools (three quarters of the total) will pay a combined apprenticeship levy of around £110m.”

The levy has been criticised for adding an extra pressure to maintained schools’ budgets – while exempting many academies from the costs.

This is because it is only paid by employers with annual wage bills of more than £3m – and for maintained schools it is their local authority’s pay bill that is taken into account.

The decision to include small maintained schools in this way was branded “the most bizarre unintended consequence in education policy” by Jonathan Simons, former head of education at Policy Exchange.

The document published today assumes that all community, voluntary-controlled schools and pupil referral units, and around 90% of multi-academy trusts will have to pay the levy.

But only around half of single school academy trusts are expected to be covered, and only 10 per cent of foundation and voluntary-aided schools.

The DfE document sets out the costs facing schools over the next two years. It says: “At the national level, total core schools and high needs funding over the period will increase at 3.1% on a per pupil basis. This slightly exceeds the latest forecast for the rate of inflation, which is 2.9% over the same period.

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