Understanding the new apprenticeship levy in the schools sector


By CIPFA academies team

The new Apprenticeship Levy came into force on 6th April 2017 and will apply to employers with a payroll of over £3m a year. This will include nearly all maintained schools, most multi academy trusts and some larger standalone academies. The levy is charged at 0.5% of an organisation’s total salary bill less a £15,000 allowance. 

The latest details from the DfE can be found here. Under the scheme, there is also a connected person’s rule, which will mean that employers who operate multiple payrolls will only be able to claim one allowance. 

The effect of this will be that maintained schools’ annual wage bill will be included as part of the local authority total wage bill, and only one annual allowance of £15,000 will be available. 

For voluntary-aided schools, foundation schools and small multi-academy trusts (MATs) or single academy schools (with free and independent schools), the governing body is the employer and therefore each governing body will be entitled to an allowance of £15,000. Larger MATs will have a single combined allowance.

Government funding

Whilst the levy will pose financial challenges to an already pressurised sector it also provides schools with an excellent opportunity to upskill the workforce as employers will receive a 10% top-up to their monthly levy contributions from the government.

Non-levy paying employers who want to hire apprentices will be able to share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with government - this is called ‘co-investment’. From May 2017, you will pay 10% towards to the cost of apprenticeship training and government will pay the rest (90%), up to the funding band maximum.

Our approach

CIPFA has been supporting the development of young people into public financial management careers for many years. The new Apprenticeship Levy, together with the proposed Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship Standard, will shift the landscape considerably.

At CIPFA, we have been at the heart of these new developments and are uniquely placed to support employers as they plan to maximise the opportunities of the Levy – both in our capacity as a professional qualifying body, and as a respected training provider, through CIPFA’s Education and Training Centre.

Whilst final details are still being confirmed, CIPFA intends to offer accountancy apprenticeships via levy funding at levels 2, 3, 4 and the new Level 7 Professional Accountant. 

Flexible options

In addition to the changes around the Apprenticeship Levy, CIPFA are introducing changes regarding the way that students can study the CIPFA Professional Qualification.

This summer the CIPFA Education and Training Centre (CETC) will be delivering a new online learning platform. Development work is well underway to create an easy-to-use, flexible platform that provides a first-class learning experience for CIPFA students and the best value for money for employers.

We will also be simplifying our face-to-face, online and distance learning packages, making it easier to create a blended study bundle that works for employers and our students.

Discover more

  • To discuss CIPFA’s options regarding contact our team on T: 020 7543 5600 or E: customerservices@cipfa.org for a no-obligations meeting regarding the impact of the levy and how you can best utilise it.

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