What is the Specialist Equipment Allocation (SEA)?

This page includes information about:

Background

This guidance is relevant to providers:

  • who have previously received the specialist equipment allocation
  • planning to deliver T Level routes for the first time in wave 5 (delivery from September 2024)
  • planning to deliver T Level routes for the first time in wave 6 (delivery from September 2025)

The specialist equipment allocation is a payment available to all T Level providers when they begin delivery of a T Level route for the first time. The allocation is based on the number of students a provider expects to have in the fourth year of T Level delivery (steady state).

We make specialist equipment allocation payments at the route level (for example, digital or health and science), irrespective of the number of individual T Levels you plan to deliver within that route, and you will only receive funding once per route. We will not make additional specialist equipment allocation payments if you add T Levels to routes you have already received funding for.

Eligibility

Wave 5

At least £50 million has been allocated to providers delivering T Level routes for the first time in the 2024 to 2025 academic year to buy high-quality specialist equipment to deliver T Levels.

If you have any questions about your wave 5 allocation, email routesreadiness.te@education.gov.uk.

Wave 6

To receive the specialist equipment allocation for the 2025 to 2026 academic year, new providers must have registered to deliver T Levels by midnight on 22 March 2024.

New and continuing T Level providers delivering T Level routes for the first time will be eligible to receive funding if they complete the May 2024 and October 2024 T Level data collections. You need to confirm projected student numbers for the first 4 years of delivery of the T Level route, starting with the 2025 to 2026 academic year.

Timetable for receiving the specialist equipment allocation

All eligible wave 5 providers will have received payments by the end of March 2024.

We expect to make wave 6 payments to eligible providers in early 2025. Before receiving the allocation, we will send all providers a grant offer letter confirming the total allocation split by route and the terms of the grant.

Grant requirements

You cannot use the specialist equipment allocation to support building work and must only use it to help buy the industry standard specialist equipment you need to deliver T Levels. If your allocation is spent on equipment that is not primarily used for supporting T Level delivery, we reserve the right to reclaim funding.

Your total spend per pupil should be roughly equal to the amount you were originally allocated for that route, as set out in your grant offer letter. If you plan to reduce the number of places you are offering on a route with a high per-pupil allocation and increase the number of places on a route with a lower per-pupil allocation, we will not allow you to transfer all spare equipment allocation from that route to another.

We will allow you to move a small proportion of funding – up to a maximum of 20% – between T Level routes if you can make a strong case for why additional equipment is needed in a particular route. If you would like to move the allocation between routes, email routesreadiness.te@education.gov.uk.

You are required to provide one monitoring form, confirming what you have purchased and the cost of the equipment. For wave 5 allocations you should return this form by 24 January 2025 to routesreadiness.te@education.gov.uk.

We will use your monitoring forms to determine whether we will need to reclaim funds. You can find information to help you complete these forms in your grant offer letter.

Eligible equipment

You must account for the equipment you purchase as a capital asset primarily used to support the delivery of T Levels, in line with your internal accounting policies. You should consult the technical specification from the relevant awarding organisation to find the suggested equipment requirements for each T Level.

Examples of eligible equipment

There follow some examples of the types of equipment providers have previously purchased using the specialist equipment allocation.

These are illustrative examples. It is up to providers to be satisfied that equipment can be shown as a capital asset within their internal accounting policies.

T Level Example equipment
Agriculture  Tractor, equine equipment, fencing pliers
Business and administration Laptops, virtual-conferencing equipment
Construction Workbench, CNC machine, electrical components and circuits, hand tools
Digital VR equipment, laptops, headsets
Education and early years Baby simulator, baby-changing unit, child sensory items
Engineering and manufacturing Milling machine, 3D printer, lathe, CNC machine
Health and science Blood pressure monitor, first-aid kit, mannequins, hospital bed, wheelchair
Legal, finance and accounting Laptops, mock courtroom equipment

Reclaiming funding

In addition to reclaiming any funding spent on non-T Level equipment, we reserve the right to reclaim funding if:

  • your projected number of students decreases significantly
  • you do not begin delivery of a T Level route for which you received funding
  • you do not spend your allocation by the date set out in your grant offer letter and we did not agree an extension to spend the allocation
  • you move a significant amount of your allocation between routes

For providers who received wave 5 specialist equipment allocation funding, we will use official independent learning record and census data in early 2025 to:

  • assess the actual student numbers against the number of students for whom providers have received funding
  • confirm you recruited onto these T Levels in the 2024 to 2025 academic year

We will not provide additional funding if your student number projections increase.

Arrangements for reclaiming funding for specialist equipment in Hair and Beauty are being treated slightly differently, following confirmation that we will no longer be delivering a combined T Level in this route. Details are set out in individual grant letters, where applicable.

Match funding

We ask that you provide a funding contribution equal to 50% of the specialist equipment value. Match funding is not an absolute requirement, and we will leave you to decide whether you are able to afford this match funding.

Match funding should not usually include other central government funding as part of this contribution. We will ask you for information on the amount and sources of money you have invested.

Key information

Published by: Department for Education

W5 monitoring form.xlsx

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