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Bursary Fund and Free Meals 2016/17 - Learner Fact Sheet

  • What is it?

    A bursary is money which is there to help you to overcome barriers to attendance, participation and progression e.g. Bus fares, meals, books, equipment, additional social support. It is provided to Paragon Skills by the Government and has set criteria to which we have to adhere.

  • Who can get it?

    The Bursary fund is for learners who are aged 16-18 on the 31st August when they join an unwaged Programme with Paragon Skills. It is not available for young people on a waged Apprenticeships or to those aged 19 or over on sign up.

    We operate three Categories of Bursary – Category A, B and C. Each Category has different eligibility.

  • What are the Categories and eligibility?

    Category A

    You have to be aged 16-18 on the 31st August to receive a guaranteed bursary and be in care, a care leaver, receiving Income Support Universal Credit or be a disabled young person in receipt of Employment Support or Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance.

    You will have to provide an official letter on headed paper to prove eligibility within this category. Where this is a letter from the DWP this must state that you are able to be in education or training.

    Category B - Discretionary

    In extreme cases we will also accept applications from other learners; however there is no guarantee that your application will be successful. This will depend upon the amount of discretionary bursary we have access to and your personal circumstances. Don’t be afraid to ask – if there are barriers to you staying on the course and you live in a household that is in receipt of one or more of the following benefits we may be able to help.

    • Universal Credit

    • Jobseeker’s Allowance

    • Income Support

    • Working Tax Credit with a household income of less than £16,190;

    • Guarantee Credit

    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    • Child tax credit (provided not entitled to working tax credit) and have a gross annual income of less than £16,190

    Young people defined as or recently defined as a Child in Need may also apply if they are at risk of dropping out of the programme owing to financial difficulties.

    Category C – Emergency bursary

    This category is only for emergencies. If you think that you fall onto this category please speak to the Learner Welfare Manager directly. They will then arrange to meet with you to discuss the situation. You can bring along a parent/carer or support worker if you would like.

  • Who decides my Category?

    The Learner Welfare Manager will decide which Category you fall into based on the information and evidence that you provide.

  • How do I get it?

    You can apply at any time and we will check with you at induction or during your reviews to see if this is something you think you will need.

    There are criteria which you have to meet in order to receive it. Usually this means you have to complete an application form - the Learner Welfare Manager or your Tutor can help you with this.

    If your application is successful you will be expected to attend training regularly and behave in line with the code of conduct that you agree to when you join the course. If you don’t payments will be reduced or withheld.

    The only time that we don’t ask you to complete an application form is where you need access to bursary in the case of an emergency. In such cases you need to contact the Learner Welfare Manager directly and they will meet with you to discuss and assess the situation.

  • How much bursary can I get?

    The maximum available is £1,200 (pro rata) per year but what you actually get will vary from person to person. Sometimes it may be decided that bursaries will be provided in voucher form e.g. a bus pass or a supermarket food voucher and occasionally it may be in cash.

    A bursary can only be provided to pay for costs classed as ‘out of pocket’ expenses. We cannot pay you to attend or incentivise your attendance in any way.

    It may be a regular or a one off payment, again which will depend upon your circumstances. If the payment is in cash we will need your bank account details as payments will be made directly to you. We cannot pay into any other bank account than your own.

  • How quickly will a decision be made?

    Once you have submitted your application and this has been received by the Learner Welfare Manager they will process this as quickly as they can. The longest time that you would wait for a decision is two weeks.

    All decisions will be notified to you by letter and your Tutor will also be informed.

  • Do I have to attend to get a bursary?

    Yes; attendance is key. Bursaries are designed to support the costs associated with attendance.

    Free meals can only be collected from Paragon Skills premises unless pre-arranged eg you are out on placement.

  • What is ‘attendance’?

    • Classroom activity i.e. lessons

    • On-site job search (under guidance from a Tutor)

    • Attendance at interviews/placements/community projects (where these are agreed by your tutor)

    • Home study as agreed with your tutor

    • Pre-arranged work placement

    • You can take a maximum of 12 hours as authorised absence during the programme. This is to be used for holiday, sickness, bereavement and attending medical appointments. Where possible this should be agreed in advance with the tutor. This would then be classed as ‘attendance’ and not impact upon your bursary.

  • When will I get it and when will it start?

    This will depend on your personal circumstances and will be explained to you if your application is successful. It will be explained in your award letter.

    The earlier you apply the earlier it can start so why not apply before you actually start with us. That way we can get you assessed and up and running ready for your first day.

  • What is a free meal and what will I get?

    Free meals are paid for by the Government where a learner is defined as being disadvantaged. For learners not falling into this category a bursary may be provided to them to access a free meal when they are in campus. If you are allocated a free meal you will be issued with a free meal pass to show in the restuarant (Bournemouth) or to the reception team (Fareham). A free meal likely to be a sandwich, small drink and piece of fruit or a hot meal up to the value of £2.41.

  • I have had a personal emergency so I haven’t been able to attend. Will my bursary stop?

    You are required to keep in regular contact with us during any period of absence. If we don’t hear from you we will make every effort to contact you but non-attendance and non-contact will lead to the removal of a bursary.

  • I have a question – who do I ask?

    Either your tutor or the Learner Welfare Manager will be able to help. The Learner Welfare Manager can be contacted on or 07971 306967.

  • When I applied I submitted evidence. Can this be returned and if not what happens to it?

    If you submit original documentation you can have it returned to you but you will need to let us know that you need it back.

    We will need to keep a copy of everything that you provide us with as part of the application process as we are required to present this to the Education Funding Agency. All such evidence will be stored in line with the Data Protection Act for 16 years.

  • I am not happy with the decision – what do I do?

    You are able to appeal a decision. You need to do this by writing to the Learner Welfare Manager who will then review your application again. If you are still not happy then you can submit a formal complaint to Customer Services – Your Tutor can help you with all of this.