16-19 Bursary Fund Policy


The 16-19 bursary is to enable all learners to maximise their potential without the financial concerns of providing educational expenses. This could include the cost of travel, to buy essential books, equipment or specialist clothing (such as protective overalls, for example).

This policy stipulates the criteria for eligibility for both statutory (Priority 1) and discretionary (Priority 2) bursaries available to 16-19-year olds learners on a Traineeship programme at Prostart Training.

Learners in the eligible age groups will be invited to apply before the start of their programme. The bursary criteria will be reviewed on an annual basis and will be subject to changes reflecting Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funding guidance.

16-19 Bursary Fund and receipt of DWP benefits

Receipt of bursary funding does not affect receipt of other means-tested benefits paid to families, such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit or, generally, Universal Credit.


Priority 1

This policy follows statutory guidance for the provision of young people meeting the criteria of the following identified groups:

  • 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

The bursary for vulnerable groups can pay up to £1,200 per year to a learner participating on Traineeship programme that lasts for 30 weeks or more if they need that amount of support. Learners on a Traineeship programme of less than 30 weeks will be paid a pro-rata amount.

Discretionary Priority 2

Discretionary Financial Bursaries will be available to learners whose household income falls below £25,000.

Evidence of income must be supplied for all applications.

The Leadership Team will determine the amounts payable to learners. The amounts are determined annually.

Payment of the bursary is subject to attendance and conditions will be set during the induction to the programme.

The bursary amount authorised will be dependent on the following:-

£10 Household Income -below £25,000

£15 Household Income/ Support Needs -identified through initial interview and assessment

£20 Household Income/ Support Needs/ Travel over 5 miles – identified through initial interview and assessment and distance of travel


Attendance for learners is monitored. Payments will be subject to satisfactory attendance, using the following criteria:

  • If attendance is 95% or above, the full bursary payment will be made
  • If attendance drops below 95%, but is above 75%, then half the bursary payment will be made;
  • If attendance drops below 75%, then none of the bursary payment will be made.

Any attendance issues will be discussed by the Leadership Team, before a final decision about the bursary payment will be made, taking into account any specific circumstances for individuals.

In line with the ESFA guidance, payments will be stopped where learners have been absent for a period of 4 continuous weeks or more (excluding holidays) and where learners have made a decision to withdraw from a Traineeship programme.

Free Meals

As part of the Bursary application Prostart will also assess a learner’s eligibility for free meals.


Learner’s being in receipt of, or having parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits are eligible 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 guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (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)

For those learners or their parents that are self-employed and in receipt of Universal Credit, parents will need to provide evidence that:

  • they are in receipt of Universal Credit by providing their Universal Credit award letter
  • they are self-employed by providing a copy of their company registration or tax return form
  • their monthly net earnings do not exceed the threshold as set out in steps 1, 2 and 3 below. And complete a self-declaration

Figure 1: free meals flowchart

Process for Application

The application for the award of a bursary will be provided during your initial interview. All completed applications must be supported by appropriate evidence of eligibility and include the applicants bank details. Completed applications should be handed in to the Recruitment Team.

Applicants will be notified in writing whether their application has been successful, together with the level of award. 

Complaints or Appeals

Any learner or parent who is unhappy with how the application for bursary funding has been handled should follow Prostart’s complaints procedure https://www.prostartuk.co.uk/compliments-and-complaints/

Equality & Diversity

This policy complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and does not discriminate against learners, either directly or indirectly, because of their protected characteristics.

Retained Contingency

Prostart will retain a contingency to cover the cost of bursaries awarded throughout the year due to changes in the financial or domestic circumstances of individual learners.

Related Documents

Bursary and Free Meals Application Form

Equality & Diversity Policy


ESFA Guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-bursary-fund-guide-2020-to-2021-academic-year#eligibility-criteria-discretionary-bursaries

Bursary Checklist https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875140/16-19_Bursary_Checklist_v2.0.pdf

Free Meals Guidance https://www.gov.uk/guidance/free-meals-in-further-education-funded-institutions-guide-for-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year