Apprenticeship Levy

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Information for schools about the Apprenticeship Levy and employing Apprentices

If your school is a community school or a voluntary controlled school, or if your school’s payroll is administered by Newham Council, your school will pay the Levy via Newham Council. This is because Newham Council is the employer and the Council pays schools’ national insurance contributions, so schools will pay the Levy as part of the Newham Council Levy.

Grant Maintained Schools, Academies and Academy Trusts directly employ their staff, so they are the employers. Voluntary Aided Schools also pay their own Levy, as the Governing Body of the school is the employer. These schools will pay the Levy if they have an annual payroll (including NI) of over £3M. They will have their own Levy Accounts, and will not be included in the Council’s Levy Account.

As the employer, Newham Council is responsible for appointing and contracting with apprenticeship training providersSchools cannot contract directly with training providers if Newham Council is the school's employer

Academic Year 2017/18. In July 2017, schools were asked to submit any requests to recruit apprentices in September 2017 or January 2018 to the Council.  Only a small number of schools requested apprentices, and the Council appointed training providers to enable these schools to recruit. Schools were again asked in December 2017 to submit any further requests for the 2017/18 academic year by 5th Feb 2018. The recruitment process for 2017/18 is completed, and the Council is putting in place a process from July 2018 in order to procure apprenticeship levy training provision for September 2018 onwards.

Academic Year 2018/19 

Schools were invited to submit a request form for Apprentices to start in September by 6th July 2018.

Schools can submit a request form for Apprentices to start in January 2019 by 9th November 2018.


Information for schools wishing to take on apprentices from September 2018 or during the 2018/19 academic year 

Step1: Check the amount that your school will pay into the Levy in each financial year via the onesource finance transactions list.

Step 2: Identify the role/s for which you would like to recruit an apprentice (use the attached form for this)

Step 3: Check the available apprenticeship frameworks and standards on the form to identify the apprenticeship that matches the job role you wish to recruit to. Check that your annual Levy contribution is sufficient to cover the maximum in the funding band for the apprenticeship training. Check the length of the apprenticeship, as the duration may be more than one year, so you would be paying the funding for that apprentice over more than one year. If you wish to upskill an existing member of staff via an Apprenticeship, check the prior attainment criteria and Level in the standard or framework are appropriate for the staff member

Step 4: Complete the apprenticeship request form attached, and email it to by 9th November 2018 

Step 5: You will be advised of the training provider that Newham Council has contracted with for the apprenticeship, and you can then contact them to discuss appointing the apprentice. You will need to discuss your needs to ensure that a suitable apprenticeship framework or standard is available. If you are recruiting a new apprentice you will need to agree the apprenticeship wages that your school will offer. You have to pay a minimum of the national apprenticeship wage, which differs according to the age of the apprentice.  Your school may wish to offer higher wages in order to attract a strong field of candidates.  If you are planning to upskill existing employees, you will need to discuss the eligiibility criteria with the training provider to ensure that the staff members are eligible.  This is particularly important if the apprenticeship is Level 5 or higher and the staff member already has a degree or other qualification at Levels 5-7.

Step 6: If you are recruiting a new apprentice, you will need to contact NPW to see if there is an apprenticeship job description template for the apprentice role that you wish to recruit to.  If not, you will need to draft a JD and ask NPW to check that it is suitable for the apprenticeship role, and does not inadvertently give employment rights to the apprentice. NPW will need to advertise the apprenticeship vacancy for you on the Newham website, and applicants will apply via the website in the normal way.  Existing employees will need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with the training provider.

Step 7: For new apprentices, once you have appointed an Apprentice, NPW will send out the Apprenticeship Agreement (Contract) to the Apprentice.  An Apprenticeship Agreement is different to a standard Contract of Employment. 

For existing employees, the training provider will work with the school to ensure that the school and the staff member undertaking the apprenticeship understand the commitment required, and the 20% off the job requirement.

Newham Council will liaise with the apprenticeship provider to ensure that new apprentices have been recruited and appears on oneOracle. Newham Council will check that existing employees appear on oneOracle, and the Council will then pay the training costs to the apprenticeship provider via the Digital Credit system.

The Council has procured apprenticeship training for 2018/19 through Council procurement processes and procedures, which involved mini-tenders from registered apprenticeship training providers.  Newham Council aims to procure apprenticeship training for 2019/20 through a procurement framework.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why has the Government introduced an Apprenticeship Levy
The Government has a target of 3 Million people undertaking Apprenticeships within the next five years.  The only way the Government can significantly increase the number of apprenticeships available is to make it compulsory for large employers to offer apprenticeships, and make them contribute financially to the cost of apprenticeship training. They are doing this by introducing a Levy on large employers which came into effect in April 2017.
What is the Levy?
The Government introduced a ‘Levy’ on large employers with an annual payroll over £3M. The total pay bill includes all earnings subject to Class1a NIC and includes salaries, bonuses, commission, and pension contributions
Large employers pay 0.5% of their annual payroll to the Govt.. The Govt will allocate funds to the employer’s digital Levy account less 0.5% (£15K) which the employer can access to pay apprenticeship training and assessment costs.
Does my school have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy ?
If your school is a community school or a voluntary controlled school, or if your school’s payroll is administered by Newham Council, your school will pay the Levy via Newham Council. This is because Newham Council is the employer and pays schools’ national insurance contributions, so schools will pay the Levy as part of the Newham Council Levy.
Grant Maintained Schools, Academies and Academy Trusts directly employ their staff, so they are the employers. They will pay the Levy if they have annual payroll’s including NI etc., of over £3M. They will have their own Levy Accounts, and will not be included in the Council’s Levy Account.
How much will each school pay?
Schools will pay 0.5% of their annual payroll into the Levy. Newham Payroll has set up direct debits with schools for the payments, and the payments will be deducted each month
School payroll costs vary during the year, is this reflected in the amount the school pays?
Yes, the direct debit will take 0.5% of the total cost of each month’s payroll, so schools will need to take this into account when calculating how much money the school’s Levy contribution will be each year.

What if I have a payroll query about my Levy payments?

You should contact NPW in the first instance

What can my school’s Levy contribution be spent on?
Levy funds can only be spent on the training and assessment costs of approved Apprenticeship Standards and Frameworks. They cannot be spent on any other costs such as salaries, travel, management costs, equipment etc.
HMRC will collect the levy from the Council on a monthly basis, via PAYE and it will be paid into a ‘digital account’ for the Council.  The levy is then converted to e-vouchers which can be accessed by the Council via a newly formed Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The Council is responsible for the Levy Account, and will need to ensure that funds are only allocated and spent according to the Apprenticeship Levy rules. The Council collects the funds from schools via Direct Debit.
Are apprenticeships just for school leavers?
The term ‘Apprenticeship’ is often misunderstood.  Apprenticeships are often associated with a route into employment for school leavers. However, Apprenticeships are now available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to degree and postgraduate level.  The training can last from one year to four years or longer.
Some apprenticeships are open to 16 & 17 year olds, and some require apprentices to be aged 18 or over. Apprentices can also be aged 19+ and 25+
Apprenticeships are essentially trainee jobs, so they are a route to becoming qualified in a particular job role. They include workplace assessments and qualifications appropriate to the job role and Level of the Apprenticeship, as well as an end-point assessment. There is also an expectation that the Apprentice will be offered a job by the employer on successful completion of their Apprenticeship
How would my school benefit from taking on an apprentice? 

Employing staff through apprenticeships can help to fill skills gaps in schools, and provides an opportunity to develop apprentices into skilled staff, ready to move into permanent job roles in schools.  A recent example of this has been the Level 3 Early Years Educator Apprenticeship at Sheringham Nursery School.  The school recognised that there was a difficulty in recruiting high-quality staff locally, and decided to start developing staff through the Apprenticeship route.
What is involved in employing an apprentice?
The Government Apprenticeship Scheme re-launched in April 2017, so even if a school has employed apprentices before, the process for employing an apprentice is now different.
The  school recruits the Apprentice, and is responsible for paying their wages. Apprentices must have the same working conditions as other employees, work a minimum 30 hours per week and must be paid at least the national minimum wage for their age group. Apprentices must also receive 20 days paid holidays.
Employers taking on an Apprentice must allow 20% of their contracted hours for ‘off the job’ training or study.  Some of this time can be used for coaching, supervision, work-shadowing etc.
The length of the Apprenticeship is determined by each Standard or Framework, and are generally between 1 and 4 years in duration
Although the Levy pays the training costs for the Apprenticeship standard, it cannot be used to pay for wages, travel costs, or the costs of managing or setting up an apprenticeship. The school has to pay for the Apprenticeship wages.
How do schools access the funds from their school’s Levy contribution?
Headteachers and Schools Forum were briefed about the Levy, and how it will operate in Newham in March 2017. Headteachers received a further briefing in July 2017 along with a request to schools for any apprentices that they wished to recruit for either September 2017 or January 2018 start. 
The briefing included the costs for each apprenticeship standard or framework, and bonuses for taking on a 16-18 year old apprentice, 19-24 year old care leaver or an applicant with an Education Health and Care Plan.  School Business Managers were further briefed in September 2017. 
The Council is responsible for contracting with the apprenticeship training providers and assessment providers.  and following a request to schools in July 2017, very few schools responded that they want to recruit an apprentice in September 2017 or January 2018 
As a result, the Council entered in to small contracts with training providers to provide the training element for the initial cohorts in September '17 and January '18.   The Council has now entered into a procurement framework to procure apprenticeship training provision from September 2018 onwards.
The Levy contributions remain in the employer’s account for 24 months so many schools have said that they would prefer to wait until 2018 to recruit an apprentice, and a number of schools have been unable to afford Apprenticeship wages, so have decided not to recruit apprentices at this time.
The Council sent out a reminder in December 2017 to schools re: recruiting apprentices in the spring or summer term 2018, with a deadline of 5th Feb. The Council will be putting a Procurement Framework in place from July 2018 for apprenticeship training provision from September 2018
Because Apprenticeship Levy funding can only be spent on the delivery of Apprenticeships, Newham Council does not have any resources to support schools with the recruitment of Apprentices. 

Sheila Weeden, Strategic Manager for 14-19 Education & Skills at the Council,  who has previous knowledge and experience of managing Apprenticeships,  has offered to provide some limited support to schools to enable them to recruit apprentices   Sheila has negotiated the process for schools with Newham Corporate HR and Procurement, and with NPW, but is unable to give individual advice to schools.


What happens to the Levy Credits if my school is going to convert to an Academy during this financial year?

If you have already recruited an apprentice before the conversion date, the apprentice will transfer to the new academy trust, as the trust will be the employer.  The trust would need to contract with the existing training provider to ensure that the apprentice could complete their apprenticeship.  The school's Levy credits that have been used to pay the provider for the apprenticeship training will only be paid up until the date of conversion.  Your Trust will need to register on the Apprenticeship Levy Digital Service in order to access apprenticeship training credits after the conversion date. 

If your school has paid into the Council Levy via the Council's payroll, and you have not taken on an apprentice, and are converting to an academy, there is no mechanism for the Council to transfer the credits.  We raised this issue with the DfE, but were told that there is no way for the credits to be transferred to a new employer. 

In those instances, the funding will go into a 'pot' for small schools and non-levy paying schools to access. There are a number of small primary schools in Newham who are either not paying the Levy, or are only paying a small Levy contribution, which is insufficient to pay for one apprentice. 

At the end of the academic year 2017/18, we will ask schools who have not employed an apprentice in 2017/18

a) if they wish to appoint an apprentice in 2018/19

or b) if they do not wish to appoint an apprentice, whether their Levy credits can go into the 'pot'.

School Levy credits are 'live' for 24 months from the point at which they are paid, so Levy credits paid in April 2017 can be spent up to March 2019.  After that time, the Levy funding for that payment reverts to the Government, so it makes sense for schools not wishing to take on apprentices to agree that their Levy credits can be spent by other schools. 

My school is in Newham but the local authority is not the employer.  Our payroll is less than £3M per year, so we do not pay the Levy.  How can my school access Apprenticeship Funding?

The Government has announced fundign for non-levy paying employers. The Govt will fund 90% of the cost of the apprenticeship training, and the employer (the school) funds the remaining 10%.  The Government has announced the list of training providers who have the funding to deliver apprentices for non-levy paying employers.  Funding is limited, so it is recommended that schools apply for the funding as soon as possible. Local providers in Newham who are in receipt of the funding are: Newham College, Skills For Growth, and Newtec.

The Full list of training providers in receipt of non-levy funding is available on the link to the right-hand side of the page




If you wish to employ an apprentice, please complete the form attached and return it by 9th November 2018 for recruitment of apprentices from January 2019
Newham Council does not have any staff resources to support schools with the Apprenticeship Levy. Sheila Weeden, Strategic Manager for 14-19 Education & Skills, Children’s Commissioning has designed a process to enable schools to use their Levy contributions, and is able to provide limited advice to schools, but is unable to meet with schools individually. She can be contacted at: