What is approval being sought for?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) expects that any learner studying towards an Apprenticeship will have Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths (known as Functional Skills). Therefore every apprentice must either evidence they have already have such qualifications, or alternatively they need to complete Level 2 Functional Skills qualifications alongside their degree. The University of Portsmouth does not have the expertise to deliver Level 2 Functional Skills and must therefore subcontract this activity to a FE college or private Training Provider.

The ESFA requires that apprenticeship providers complete a business case for subcontracting any aspect of provision and that this business case is approved by Governors.

Process to identify a subcontractor to deliver Level 2 Functional Skills

Four local FE providers with which the UoP already has established partnerships were invited to bid for the Functional Skills subcontract. Three bids were submitted and were assessed on the basis of costs (the EFSA provides £471 per subject for each student requiring these Level 2 qualifications) and their OFSTED ratings at the time; two were rated as Good and one as Outstanding. 


The decision was made to partner with Fareport, as they are an OFSTED Outstanding rated provider with 90% Learner Satisfaction rating, therefore considered to be expert providers. They were also the most cost effective.


As agreed between the 2 parties, the amount that the University will pay Fareport for the Level 2 Functional Skills training will be 85% of the £471 funding that the University receives for each required subject.

Due to the small number of students requiring Level 2 qualifications, the annual contract value will be significantly less than the ESFA subcontracting cap of £100k. 

Quality assurance

The University has a comprehensive policy to ensure academic quality and standards are maintained and enhanced and this is supported by Fareport’s own rigorous quality assurance processes.


It is recommended that Governors approve the business case to allow us to continue subcontracting functional skills to Fareport, in line with ESFA Apprenticeship requirements. Fareport continues to offer excellent results and value for money, as well as being an OFSTED Outstanding provider with excellent pass rates.


The business case was submitted to Governors for approval and this was granted.

Review Date

This is reviewed annually, and was last reviewed on 31/08/23 and is fit for purpose.