Learner Support Policy

Policy statement


Newcastle City Learning aims, subject to available funding, to provide financial support for learners with a specific financial hardship preventing them from taking part / continuing in learning. We will assess and record your needs, demonstrating the requirement for support where appropriate.


We will prioritise funding for those in priority groups but will consider everyone’s individual circumstances in making our decisions.


This policy applies to both North of Tyne Combined Authority and Education and Skills Agency learner support.


Please note discretionary learner support (dls) for adults is only available for Adult Skills/formula funded provision, not community learning funded provision or full cost courses.


Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Funding is only available to those learners who have taken out an Advanced Learner Loan bursary and cannot be used to pay course fees.


Discretionary learner support for young people, known as 16-19 Bursary Funding, is also available for those on Study Programmes. If you are aged under 20 at the start of your course the Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study.


Students on apprenticeship programmes, or any waged training, are employed, rather than in education and are therefore not eligible.


There is a separate application process for 16-19 students in defined vulnerable groups. Institutions do not receive an allocation of funds for bursaries for vulnerable groups but can draw down funds by submitting a funding claim form for those eligible. Please ask us for details.





For dls, childcare and Advanced Learner Loans Bursary financial assistance may be available:-


  • If you are a resident within the North of Tyne Combined Authority or a non-devolved area.


  • Where you are the only person in your household and your annual household income is less than £19,000.


  • Where there is one or more dependent child(ren)/adult in your household and your annual household income is less than £26,000


For free meals for those aged 16-19:


  • We will use the list of eligible benefits as defined by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.


For all applications an individual financial assessment will be made, financial need must be established for an allocation to be approved, and evidence of such will be retained.



Application process


Depending on your age and the course you are undertaking funding can be used for categories such as books and equipment, additional course costs, travel, childcare, and in some cases course fees – please ask our Gateway team for our application forms which contain more details. They can also assist in you have any queries about filling your form in or providing evidence.


We will:


  • Base our decision on your individual circumstances and your actual financial need. These will vary from learner to learner.


  • We will carry out a financial assessment to establish your household income, whether there is an actual financial need and what kinds of costs you have.


  • We will require evidence to assess eligibility and determine household income, such as P60s, self-employment accounts, wage slips, a letter from DWP, copies of online statements for Universal Credit. If this is an issue due to your personal circumstances, we will work with you to understand your financial situation.


  • We will also take any savings you may have into account when establishing your household income.


  • We will ensure that confidentiality is observed throughout the policy/procedure.



Priority groups


For adult Discretionary Learner Support and Childcare our priority groups are as follows:


  • Learners without a first full Level 2 or Level 3 qualification (23yrs and under)


  • Learners without a first full Level 2 qualification (24yrs and over)


  • Learners taking programmes where the primary learning goal is Skills for Life


  • Learners who have learning difficulties or disabilities


  • Learners who are lone parents


For Advanced Learner Loans Bursary our priority groups are as follows:


  • Learners without a first full Level 3 or Level 4 qualification


  • Learners who have learning difficulties or disabilities


  • Learners who are lone parents





Please note that for dls assistance with travel costs, applications will only be considered if:


  • You are a resident of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne (unless undertaking specialist provision that cannot be accessed in your own locality).


  • You live more than three miles from the nearest centre doing the course at an appropriate time (If you live less than three miles away, but have young children, or a disability, or you are a young person on a study programme, managers have some discretion to make an allocation dependant on the availability of resources if household income thresholds are met).



Attendance and behaviour requirements


You must agree to:


  1. Attend regularly and to complete the course for which any assistance is payable; payments may stop if you do not attend your classes or meet the agreed standards of behaviour.


  1. Spend the monies allocated on the agreed reasons they were awarded for


  1. Notify Newcastle City Learning immediately if there is any change in your financial circumstances which affects the amount of assistance payable


  1. Repay the excess amount to Newcastle City Learning where any provisional or other payments are made that exceed (for whatever reason) the assistance payable in respect of that year if called upon to do so.



Accuracy of information provided


We will ask you to confirm that the evidence you have provided is correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief.


It is your responsibility to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about any learner support you are receiving, as these payments may affect your eligibility to state benefits.





Unfortunately, as funds are limited, all applications may not be successful. Allocations will depend on whether resources are available even if household income thresholds are met, and financial need demonstrated. You are entitled to make a complaint. Complaints will be responded to within 3 working days and resolved, where possible, within 15 working days as per Newcastle City Council policy.