Community learning funding & ILR changes for 2023/24 – and beyond

Posted by Matthew Butson

In this blog, Matthew Butson, our Reporting and Funding adviser, looks at the changes to recording Community Learning in your ILR for the new academic year and beyond.


The new funding reforms, which come into effect on the 1st August 2023 represent the biggest change for Community Learning for a long time. Until now, the Community Learning Provision Type has been the only dedicated piece of information relating to Community Learning that providers have been obliged to include in their ILR, and it has remained unchanged for over a decade.

There has also been a lighter data burden generally, as fields required for other provision types have not previously been required for Community Learning provision. However, this stability has come at a cost as regulatory attention has been focussed on other types of provision more directly tied to skills and employment, with community learning grants being frozen and not rising with inflation.

Why is it changing?

In its Skills for Jobs consultation, published in July 2022, the government proposed merging all non-regulated activity into one pot "based on what the provider historically received for this provision (i.e., the sum of their Community Learning allocation and any non-regulated formula funding they claimed)" effectively doing away with Community Learning as its own distinct entity. In its 2nd consultation, all non-regulated provisions would be rebranded as 'tailored provision', potentially indicating more flexibility but less distinctive.

These changes have not come into effect yet and may be subject to further change. The changes for 23/24 are more modest but they do start this process.

What is changing for 2023/24?

From 1st August 2023, the old Community Learning Provision Types (LearnDelFAMType = ASL) will no longer be valid and instead are being replaced by two new fields:

  1. the Community Learning Purpose (LearneDelFAMType = ACL), which is mandatory, and
  2. a field identifying Community Learning that is part of Family Learning (LearnDelFAMType = AFL), which is optional in 23/24.

The Community Learning Purpose is mandatory and will be validated in the ILR. The main purpose must be recorded where the learner has more than one purpose. The Provider Support manual contains this curious phrase: "For 2023/24, providers have the discretion to record purpose on a per course basis rather than per learner." ASL coding has always been recorded at aim level and found in the Learning Delivery Funding and Monitoring fields, but this is a strong indicator that this may change going forward.

The new Community Learning Purpose options:



Valid from


Engaging and/or building confidence

01 August 2023


Preparation for further learning

01 August 2023


Preparation for employment

01 August 2023


Improving essential skills including English, ESOL, Maths and Digital

01 August 2023


Equipping parents/carers to support children's learning

01 August 2023


Health and well-being

01 August 2023


Developing stronger communities

01 August 2023





New Data requirements – get ahead for 2024/25 

The following fields have been added to the collection requirements for Community Learning and, although not mandatory this year, all are expected to become mandatory in 24/25 so I’d recommend that providers implement these changes now:

  • The full and co-funding indicator. For Community Learning, Full funding will mean the learner is not charged a fee and co-funding will be used if the learner is paying a fee and contributing to the cost of provision.
  • The Employment Status and Employment Status Monitoring fields should be collected where available.
  • The destination fields should be collected where this is available.

The future for Community learning

I think these changes represent the single biggest change for Community Learning provision and is one step closer to fully incorporating Community Learning into its mainstream funding and regulatory structures; however, the distinctive character of community learning may be eroded as it is included in the more generic sounding 'tailored learning’. As it stands, Community Learning has some of the most distinctive, wide-ranging, and hard-to-measure goals of any post-16 education. I can't think of any of provision that has an objective to 'widen participation and transform people's destinies…’. I am proud to work with providers who can even attempt that.

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