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General mentor grant administration and assurance proposal

This post details the ‘Claim funding for mentor training’ team’s approach to grant administration and assurance, which aligns with government grant standards and principles.

Government grant standards

There are 10 Government Grants Standards aimed at promoting a consistently high standard in grant administration that will benefit applicants, the government, and the broader community.

This design history focuses on standards six to nine.

In addition, the Government Functional Standard (PDF, 32 pages) sets out 6 principles for grant administration which we have adhered to.

It is particularly useful to highlight principle 2: applying this standard is proportionate and appropriate, reflected in the approach taken to governance, management frameworks, and controls regarding an accepted balance of opportunity and risk.

General mentor grant – low risk

Grants with a lower than £100,000 award are the same as low-risk grants. We expect most grant awards for schools would be between £876 (one mentor, rest of England pay rate) and £8,576 (8 mentors, inner London pay rate). For context, the greatest number of trainees in a National Institute of Teaching placement school this year is 8, and it is unlikely, though possible, that each trainee would have a separate mentor. We do not expect any school to claim above £100,000.

Level of fraud within schools

Local authorities are responsible for the schools that they maintain and ensure that the systems of accountability for schools are based on the principles of regularity, propriety and value for money. There are low levels of fraud within the academy sector. Both academies and maintained schools have a duty to prevent and detect fraud.

Standard 6: Grant agreements

Definition: all government grants shall be awarded through robust grant agreements, proportionate to the value of the grant and which reflect the Grants Functional Standard for government grants, in line with guidance in Managing Public Money. All government grant agreements shall include terms of eligible expenditure.

‘Claim funding for mentor training’ approach

For the public beta, we will publish the grant conditions on GOV.UK. For the private beta—approximately 370 placement schools—we will host the grant conditions in the ‘Claim funding for mentor training’ service.

This mirrors the approach taken by the ESFA, for instance with backfill payments for time off timetable for early career framework (ECF) mentor training (national roll-out) conditions of grant.

For both private and public beta, we will add wording to the service that users must agree to the specific grant conditions, as well as the DfE’s standard grant terms and conditions.


We believe our approach is low risk as we are following the process that the ESFA uses.

Standard 7: Risk, controls and assurance

Definition: all government grants should be managed within an effective and proportionate control framework, including being subject to timely and proportionate due diligence, assurance and fraud risk assessment.

Proposed approach

A fraud risk assessment was completed as part of the full business case. We are working with the ESFA to update this risk assessment to capture any additional risks within the service.

We have the following controls within ‘Claim funding for mentor training’, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of fraud:

  1. The list of schools onboarded onto the service will initially be taken from Register trainee teachers. The accredited ITT provider will then check and review this list. ITT providers submit their placement schools for their trainees, and this data will provide the initial database of eligible schools. Where a placement school must be added manually, we will ask for evidence of a relationship with an ITT provider.
  2. Users sign in to the service using DfE Sign-in. This means that a user is tied to an organisation and can only claim funding for organisations which have approved the user.
  3. To make a claim, users must indicate the accredited ITT provider who delivered the mentor training. The list of providers is taken from Publish teacher training courses, which ensures that only currently accredited providers can be chosen as the training providers.
  4. We will inform the ITT provider of claims where they have been listed.
  5. Users must add the mentor to the claim using their teacher reference number (TRN). The mentor’s name will be provided using a look-up from the database of qualified teachers (DQT). This will provide additional independent assurance that the claim is being made for a school staff member that DfE has a record of.
  6. Users will also need to submit the number of hours of training, which the ITT provider will evidence if required.
  7. Users will complete a declaration before submitting a claim, which aligns with the claim form (Annex C) and statement of usage (Annex G) but is simplified. The current wording requires users to confirm that they have the authority to submit the claim, that the information is accurate, that the funding claimed in arrears has been used solely for mentor training, and that they should retain evidence supporting this claim.
  8. Schools will be required to retain evidence that supports the claim for funding.
  9. Providers will also be asked to retain evidence.
  10. As an additional assurance, we will request full evidence for a minimum of ten per cent of claims. To ensure that this evidence is independent, we will ask the ITT provider who delivered the training to provide it. If there are issues with this sample, we will expand it beyond 10%.
  11. The ESFA will undertake light-touch checks before making payment, such as checking school information on Get information about schools (GIAS) to ensure that the school is open.


Given the control and assurance we have built into the ‘Claim funding for mentor training’ service, we believe our approach is low risk.

Standard 8: Performance and monitoring

Definition: All government grants should have agreed-upon outcomes and longer-term outcomes defined, wherever possible, to enable active performance management, including regular reviews and adjustments where deemed necessary.

Proposed approach

We are creating KPIs for the service and the grant policy, which we will review after the private beta. We are also working with the data and insights team to build a dashboard that will enable us to monitor the service’s performance in real-time.

As part of the agreement with ESFA, the grant allocations will be published yearly. This publication details the organisations which received the funding and the amount.

We will also start working with the Teacher Analysis Division (TAD) to evaluate this and other ITT reform grants. This work will support the next spending review bid when we request funding post the academic year 2024 to 2025.

We have also contacted the Cabinet Office Evaluation Task Force to request guidance and support with the ITT reform grants evaluation.

Standard 9: Annual review and reconciliation

Definition: All government grants should be reviewed annually at minimum, focusing on financial reconciliation, considering delivery across the period, and resulting in a decision to continue, discontinue, or amend funding.

Proposed approach

We propose using the information collected above to undertake a review after the private beta payments are made in September/October 2024. This review will inform the approach for the public beta. In addition, we plan to schedule a beta assessment with the Cabinet Office in October/November 2024, and as part of this, we will review our approach for the public beta.