It will be part of the Department for Education and start to operate from next month.
The new agency will continue to carry out the roles of the Education and Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency and consequently it will be responsible for:
- the funding of education for pupils from five to 16
- education and training for 16-to 19-year-olds
- apprenticeships and adult education
- managing school building programmes.
Its responsibilities cover England only.
Education secretary Justine Greening said, ‘Creating the Education and Skills Funding Agency will mean we are able to provide a more joined-up approach to funding and regulation of schools, colleges and other providers, with improved accountability and better service.
‘We will be working closely with our staff, unions, stakeholders and the education sector to finalise and deliver our plans for the new agency.’
The DfE said that the current chief executive of both agencies, Peter Lauener, has announced that he intends to retire following the merger and plans to recruit a successor are under way. Mr Lauener will carry on as chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency until a permanent replacement has been recruited and is in place.
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers welcomed the merger of the EFA and SFA.
Chief executive officer Mark Dawe said, ‘The merger makes a great deal of sense particularly for providers delivering apprenticeships and traineeships for both 16- to 18-year-olds and adults.
‘Hopefully it will make the contracting and growth funding processes much simpler. It is also timely as we move towards the implementation of the Sainsbury reforms. All of us have to make sure however that FE and skills are not overwhelmed by the combined agency dealing with the challenges faced by the school sector.
‘Our sector is indebted to Peter Lauener for many years of uninterrupted service and dedication to working with providers and colleges to transform the working lives of thousands of people across England though education and training. Getting the Institute for Apprenticeships off to an effective start presents a final major challenge for Peter and we look forward to working with him to ensure that it is a success.’[“Source-nurseryworld”]