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16-19 Bursary Policy


The purpose of the policy is to provide a set of standards and principles for the administration of the 16-19 Bursary Fund, which provides financial support to help learners overcome specific barriers to participation so that they can remain in education.

There are two types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

•    Bursaries for defined vulnerable groups of up to £1,200 a year.

•    Discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books, and equipment.

NB: The 16-19 Bursary Fund is subject to funds being made available from the Education Funding Agency (ESFA) and therefore CTS Training cannot guarantee that it will be able to grant every application made unless in the guaranteed vulnerable group.


This policy is in line with the national ESFA 16-19 Bursary Fund Guide for 2023/2024 and from consultation with the Local Authority and wider provider network.

• academic-year


We seek to ensure that the assessment, administration, and allocation of the Fund are open and transparent to all parties.

The Bursary Fund will be targeted at learners who face the greatest barriers to continuing in education or training Post-16.

•    CTS Training will pay eligible learners by BACS transfer into their bank account.

•    CTS Training will pay/reimburse eligible learners the Bursary, for costs relating to participation in learning e.g., meals, transport, and additional learning costs in line with the 16-19 Bursary Fund Policy. The Bursary Fund is not intended to provide learning support, services that institutions give to learners, for example, counselling or mentoring, or to support extra-curricular activities where these are not essential to the learner’s study programme.

•    CTS Training will ensure that the assessment and allocation of funds are conducted in a professional, timely and responsive manner and in compliance with current ESFA Guidance.

•    CTS Training will not discriminate against any learners based on any protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010 and CTS’s Equality and Diversity Policy. G:\Policies and Procedures\EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY.docx

•    All documentation relating to applicants will be treated confidentially following the General Data Protection Regulations from May 2018 (GDPR).

•    CTS Training will raise awareness of the 16-19 Bursary Fund with referral agencies and through recruitment processes amongst learners, particularly the most vulnerable and those that face the greatest financial barriers to participation. This will include publishing the information regarding the application process on the CTS Website and CTS Bursary Fact Sheet.

•    CTS Training will be responsible for ensuring all learners, including those learning with approved sub-contractors are fully aware of the 16-19 Bursary Fund, the assessment criteria and how to make an application.

The Types of Support Available

The 16-19 Bursary Fund has two elements:

•    A vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups (subject to funds from the Learning and Support Service).

•    Discretionary bursaries for learners facing the greatest financial hardship with a threshold of household income below £35,000, which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books, and equipment (subject to funds made available to CTS Training and there being an assessed need for financial help).


A learner must be aged sixteen or over, but under 19, on 31 August 2023 to be eligible for help from the bursary fund in the 2023 to 2024 academic year.

Learners aged 19 or over are only eligible to receive a discretionary bursary if they are continuing on a Study Programme, they began aged 16 to 18 (19+ continuers) or have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).


Learners must meet the residency criteria in the ESFA funding regulations for post-16 provision in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Accompanied asylum-seeking children (under 18 with an adult relative or partner)

Generally, asylum seekers are not entitled to public funds. Accompanied asylum-seeking children (those under 18 with an adult relative or partner) and those aged 18 and above are entitled to education, but not to public funds. If they are destitute, they can apply to the Home Office (HO) for suitable housing and cash for essentials, but they are not eligible for other income.

As long as an asylum seeker has not had their asylum application refused, you can provide in-kind student support such as books, equipment, or a travel pass. Under no circumstances should you give cash to any asylum seeker unless they are an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC).

Bursary for Vulnerable Groups

Learners who meet one of the 4 criteria below and who have a financial need can apply for a bursary for vulnerable groups of up to £1,200 per year (if they are participating in a Study Programme that lasts for 30 weeks or more; a pro-rata amount is paid to learners on a Study Programme of less than 30 weeks).

This reflects that learners in these groups may need a greater level of support to enable them to continue to participate.

The defined vulnerable groups are learners who are:

•    In care.

•    Care leavers.

•    Receiving Income Support, or Universal Credit, because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner.

•    Receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right

CTS Training can pay a bursary to a vulnerable group of learners more than £1,200 if we assess they need extra help to remain in education. Any payments over £1,200 will be made from our discretionary bursary allocation (subject to available funds).

Equally, CTS Training may decide that although a young person may be eligible for a bursary because they are in one or more of the defined vulnerable groups, they do not have any actual financial need and so do not need support from the scheme. For example, their financial needs are already met and/or they have no relevant costs.

The ESFA 16 to 19 Bursary Fund defines ‘in care’ as ‘children looked after by a local authority on a voluntary basis (Section 20 of the Children Act 1989) or under a care order (Section 31 of the Children Act 1989) - Section 22 of the Children Act 1989 defines the term ‘looked after child’.

A ‘care leaver’ is defined as:

•    A young person aged 16 and 17 who was previously looked after for a period of 13 weeks consecutively (or periods amounting to 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16; or

•    A young person aged 18 or above who was looked after before becoming 18 for 13 weeks consecutively (or periods of 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16.

Foster Care is defined as:

•    A young person placed with a foster carer by the local authority, including where the foster carer is on the books of an independent fostering agency, is classed as looked after. They are in a defined vulnerable group (‘in care’) and eligible for help from the bursary for vulnerable groups.

•    A child who is privately fostered (in other words, a private arrangement is made between the parent and the person who will care for the child) is not classed as a looked-after child and is not eligible for the bursary for vulnerable groups.

In some instances, a young person may have been in the care of the local authority and the care transferred to another party via a permanent form of fostering such as a Special Guardianship Order. In these circumstances, the young person is defined as having left care so is now a care leaver. They are in a  defined vulnerable group  (‘care leaver’) and eligible for help from the bursary for vulnerable groups.


Universal Credit

Universal Credit has replaced Income Support and Employment Support Allowance as well as other benefits. Institutions will increasingly see learners claiming bursaries for defined vulnerable groups based on receiving Universal Credit.

Universal Credit award notifications do not include any information on the benefits they replace. For this reason, the description of the bursaries for the vulnerable group category that relates to the receipt of Universal Credit or Income Support is that a learner must be receiving Universal Credit in their own right because they are financially supporting themselves and anyone dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner.

Evidence of Eligibility

CTS Training will obtain evidence from each learner that they are eligible for a bursary for vulnerable groups, and we will retain copies for audit purposes.

•    Learners in care or a care leaver - written confirmation of their current or previously looked-after status from the relevant local authority. This is the local authority that looks after them or provides their leaving care services. The evidence could be a letter or an e-mail but must be clearly from the local authority.

•    Learners in receipt of Income Support - a copy of their Income Support award notice. They must be entitled to the benefit in their own right and the evidence must confirm that the young person can be in further education or training (some young people in receipt of benefits are not allowed to participate).

•    Learners in receipt of Universal Credit - a copy of their Universal Credit Award notice. They must be entitled to the benefit in their own right. They must also provide additional

•    documentation to confirm their independent status, for example, a tenancy agreement in the learner’s name, a child benefit receipt, children’s birth certificates, utility bills etc.

•    Learners in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments and Employment Support Allowance – a copy of their relevant award notice. They must be entitled to the payment in their own right and the evidence must confirm this.

CTS Training will only submit a funding claim to the Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS) for bursaries for vulnerable groups when they have seen and verified appropriate evidence to confirm that the learner is eligible.

Pro-Rata Bursaries for Vulnerable Groups

Learners who have a financial need who meet the criteria for a bursary for vulnerable groups may be eligible for a bursary of up to £1,200 (with the actual amount dependent on the specific financial needs they have) if they are on a Study Programme which lasts for 30 weeks or more in the academic year. Learners who meet the criteria and who are on study programmes lasting for less than 30 weeks should be given a bursary on a pro-rata basis, as appropriate, with the actual amount dependent on the assessment of their specific financial needs.

For example:

A learner is on a 30-week programme. If the institution assesses they have financial needs that require a full £1,200, the bursary may be £1,200 ÷ 30 = £40 per week.

If the same learner was on a 10-week programme, the pro-rata bursary may be £40 x 10 weeks =

Learners will be awarded a daily amount of £1.60 or £4.00 per day depending on their age for each day they are timetabled to attend CTS Training for travel costs multiplied by the number of weeks of their programme. This will be paid weekly into their bank account and is to be used for travel.

Young People Eligible for a Bursary for Vulnerable Groups but who do not require Bursary Funding

In some cases, a young person might be eligible for a bursary for vulnerable groups because they meet one or more of the criteria. However, their financial needs are already met and/or they have no relevant costs. For example:

•    Attending specialist residential provision that covers their educational costs in full.

•    Taking a distance learning programme which has no financial barriers to participation (for example, they do not have any travel costs or meal costs).

•    In the care of the local authority whose educational costs are covered in full by the local authority.

•    Who is financially supported by their partner.

In these circumstances, CTS Training will explain to the learner and/or the learner’s parents the aim of bursary funding and why no bursary is being awarded. CTS Training will ensure that all applicants are made aware that meeting the criteria for a bursary for vulnerable groups does not automatically mean funding will be given.

Discretionary Bursary

CTS Training will ensure all learners who are in financial hardship have the opportunity to apply for financial support from the Discretionary Bursary Fund.

CTS Training will use household income to help establish the amount of support they award to a learner. This will be used in conjunction with other factors, such as the distance to travel from CTS Training and the number of dependent children in the household.

CTS Training will ensure that all learners who have a household income below £35,000 per year have the opportunity to be considered for financial support from the 16-19 Discretionary Bursary Fund to help them overcome the individual barriers to participation they face, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books, equipment and clothing for placement or interviews.

3 months' wage slips or P60 will need to be provided to support a claim for a discretionary bursary to evidence that household income is below £35,000 per year.

Learners or their parents/guardians receiving one or more of the following benefits may also be eligible to receive discretionary bursary support.

•    Income Support
•    Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
•    Income-Related Employment Support Allowance
•    Universal Credit
•    Pension Credit
•    Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
•    Housing Benefit
•    Council Tax Benefit
•    Child or Working Tax Credits

Learners will need to provide evidence in the form of a letter (dated within the last 3 months, where this is not possible the most recent letter will be accepted) from the Job Centre, Home Office or Pension Service confirming your/their entitlement for their application to be processed.

All decisions about which learners receive a discretionary bursary and how much bursary funds they receive will be based on each learner’s circumstances and their actual financial need. The bursary fund is intended to help learners overcome the specific financial barriers to participation they face; these will vary from learner to learner, depending on a range of factors, for example, their household income, the distance they need to travel to the institution and the requirements of their Study Programme.

Free Meals

Learners who are in receipt or whose parents/guardians are in receipt of the following benefits will also be entitled to apply for Free Meals.

•    Income Support
•    Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
•    Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
•    Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
•    The guaranteed element of the State Pension Credit
•    Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of no more than £16910 as assessed by the HMRC
•    Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
•    Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Learners who are entitled to a vulnerable bursary and have a qualifying benefit above will also be entitled to Free Meals.

Due to the cost of living crisis and energy price cap removal, from 1st April 2023, Free Meals will be paid at a rate of £2.41, plus a £3.99 uplift from the discretionary fund, a total of £6.40 per day, for every day that a learner attends their programme. This will be paid directly into the learner’s bank account weekly.



To qualify for assistance with the costs of travel between home and CTS Training a learner must live at least 1 mile away from their normal CTS Training site.

16–18-year-olds must apply for a Zoom 16-18 Travel Pass.


This concessionary pass entitles learners to concessionary travel at 80p on buses and trams in South Yorkshire and half fare on Northern Trains services in South Yorkshire.

18+ years old’s that do not qualify for a 16-18 Pass must apply for a Travel Master 18-22 Discount Card.

The Travel Master 18-22 Discount Card is a smartcard available to all young people, regardless of where you live, which is valid until the day before your 23rd birthday to travel in South Yorkshire.

Young people with the 18-22 Discount Card can get 15% off Adult Travel Master Tickets when purchased from a Ticket Vending Machine or through the Travel Master website.

CTS Training will support all learners who are eligible to apply for a 16-18 or 18-22 travel pass. This will then be paid weekly into a learner’s bank account if they are eligible for either the Vulnerable or Discretionary bursary.

Amounts paid are:

•    £1.60 per day for 16–18-year-olds.
•    £4.00 per day for 18+ year old’s.



CTS Training will assess the young person’s actual need for financial assistance before awarding a Bursary, this will be completed by assessing household income. Learners will be expected to complete a CTS Training 16-19 Bursary Application form and provide evidence such as a benefit entitlement, wage slips, Tax Credit Award Notice, or evidence of self-employment.

Application Process

During the recruitment and interview processes, it will be identified if learners are eligible for the two types of Bursary Funds.

All learners that would like to apply for the Bursary Fund are required to complete an application form and provide evidence for their claim; this includes those learners that are deemed vulnerable.

Once the completed application form is received, with supporting evidence, CTS Training will confirm receipt and will assess the application and supporting evidence to determine if eligible and the amount to be awarded.

CTS Training will confirm if applications for Discretionary Bursary have been approved or declined via an Award Notice Letter.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), personal information collected through the bursary assessment and application process will only be used to determine eligibility for the 16-19 Bursary Fund and when making Bursary payments. We will only keep your personal information for as long as we need it, after which it will be securely destroyed.  


Payment Process

Learners eligible for the 16-19 Bursary Fund will receive weekly payments to reimburse their costs relating to their participation in learning. This could include travel, lunch, and any other associated costs for attending their course. To receive payment a young person must adhere to the terms and conditions of their individualized Study Programme. All learners are required to supply valid bank account details in their name for payments to be made via BACS.

Where exceptional circumstances are preventing a young person from receiving bursary funds directly, CTS Training can make alternative payment methods for learners. Any exceptional circumstances must be recorded and retained in the learning funding file.

Once the application has been assessed and approved, CTS Training will write to the learner informing them of the amount to be awarded. Payments will be received within 10 days of receiving the application.

If/where a learner has been overpaid for whatever reason, CTS Training reserve the right to reclaim the amount overpaid. Where this is not possible, CTS Training will adjust future claims to compensate for the overpayment. The following will apply:

•    Where CTS Training has paid the learner bursary that they are not entitled to, for example, due to incorrect declarations on the application, CTS Training can seek to recover the funds.

•    Where CTS Training has made an error, for example, the issue was not the learner’s, CTS Training would not seek to recover the funds.

CTS Training makes note that the use of the 16-19 Bursary Fund to support transport-related costs does not replace the statutory duty on local authorities to set out (in an annually published transport statement) the arrangements they will make to facilitate the participation in education or training of Young People. Bursary payments to meet transport costs will be assessed during the application process where the costs have been identified as a barrier to the young person’s participation.

Approval/Rejection of Payment

Approval of payment is subject to daily attendance which will be confirmed by the learner’s tutor. Learners will only be paid their bursary fund for the days that they have attended.


Payments can be withheld if learners have been reported to:

•    Have not contributed to their learning plan.

•    Broken the behaviour agreement with CTS Training.

It is the responsibility of the tutor to record any failings by the learner to adhere to CTS Training terms and conditions of learning. This should be recorded on the daily electronic register within session outcomes. This will be reviewed weekly to ensure bursary payments are aligned with the CTS Training policy.

Communication of the terms and conditions of the bursary fund are held within this policy the Bursary Fact Sheet, and Bursary Application Form. It is the responsibility of CTS Staff to make learners aware of these points of reference.

Change to Learner Circumstances

It is the learner’s responsibility to inform CTS Training when their circumstances change, for example, they are no longer deemed as vulnerable, or they are no longer in financial hardship. Once a change has been identified, CTS Training will make the necessary arrangements to end a learner’s claim for the Bursary Fund so that no further payments are made, whatever they may be (transport, meals, contingency fund). It is also a learner’s responsibility to inform CTS Training if they fall into the vulnerable category or feel that they are in financial hardship whilst, on their Study Programme, CTS Training will help and support these learners to apply for the Bursary fund.

CTS Training will promote and support applications to the Bursary throughout the young person’s time on the programme and respond to any change in a learner’s circumstances.

Where a learner changes their bank account for whatever reason, it is the learner’s responsibility to notify CTS Training of their new details. If the learner fails to do so, CTS Training will take no responsibility for any loss of funds to the learner as we would not be aware of the change of circumstances. Thus, payments will continue to be made into the previous bank account until we are notified otherwise. A learner can update their bank account details by asking a tutor for a Change of Bank Account Details form.


Learners who wish to appeal decisions with the outcome of the Bursary application or where payment has been withheld due to attendance/behaviour should follow the CTS Training complaints procedure, which is made available during induction and throughout the young person’s learning programme.

This policy is supported by:


•    16-19 Bursary Fact Sheet
•    16-19 Bursary and Free Meals Application Form
• academic-year


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