For any academy trust that operates a Sixth Form, additional income is received as part of the general annual grant (GAG) payment monthly, known as the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.
Whilst this is recorded as grant income within the financial statements of the academy trust, the money does not specifically belong to the trust, but instead to the qualifying students within the Sixth Form who benefit from this extra funding. Due to this, there are specific rules governing the usage of this money, as well as specific disclosures which are required in the financial statements.
Any money spent from the 16 to 19 Bursary grant must be as a direct benefit to the relevant students as per the eligibility criteria within your academy trust’s published policy as to how you will use bursary funding. It cannot be subsumed within general funding. The only ‘exception’ to this rule is the allowance for any academy trust to utilise up to 5% of their current year allocation for administrative costs in relation to the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.
Academy trusts that receive both a 16 to 19 Bursary Fund and free meals in further education allocation are permitted to use up to 5% of the combined allocation for administration and consequently must ensure they do not take a sum that is greater than 5% of the single allocation total.
The following disclosure is required within the notes to the financial statements in respect of the 16 to 19 Bursary funding:
The academy trust distributes 16to 19 Bursary Funds to students as an agent for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). In the accounting period ending 31 August 2023 the academy trust received £x and disbursed £y from the fund. An amount of £x is included in other creditors relating to undistributed funds that is repayable to the ESFA. Comparatives for the accounting period ending 31 August 2022 are £x received, £y disbursed and £x included in other creditors.
Amount unspent in year
As the 16 to 19 Bursary grant is not ultimately the academy trust’s money, any unspent amount needs to be repaid. However, the EFSA does permit academy trusts to carry forward any unspent bursary funds to the next academic year, as long as it continues to be utilised in accordance with the funding rules described above.
Any amount that remains unspent, following the discretionary subsequent academic year will be recovered by the ESFA. The mechanism for this is that the trust should report any unspent funding to the ESFA using the online enquiry form. It is the responsibility of the academy trust to disclose this information to the ESFA by no later than 31 March each year.
For more information, please get in touch with your usual BKL/Landau Baker contact or use our enquiry form.