How to use the Adult Education Budget to support LDD or high needs learners

4 mins read

The purpose of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) is to support learners over the age of 19 to develop the skills and qualifications they need for work and further learning, like apprenticeships or higher education.

Every learner has different needs and will require a personalised approach to help them on their learning journey, and only your organisation can decide how to use the adult education budget to help provide the best outcomes.

For adults with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD), it is especially important that they get the support they need to achieve so they are not at a disadvantage to their peers. And Ofsted are extremely focused on making sure SEND learners achieve the best possible outcomes.

Learning Support Funding (LSF1) is there to support you do this.

When and how does each learner receive learning support funding on AEB courses?


The ESFA provides a flat monthly rate between the ‘from’ and ‘to’ dates specified on the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), usually the learner’s start and end dates.

The funding is taken out of the provider’s prime allocation for AEB.

The ESFA expects the total earned from the monthly rate to cover the provider’s costs. You can refer to the funding guidelines to see how much funding an eligible learner will receive each month.

If the monthly cost of providing support to a learner goes above the fixed monthly rate, and you have evidence of the excess, you can claim for this excess through the Earnings Adjustment Statement (EAS).

The learner must be receiving learning support on the last day of the month to receive LSF for that month. For example, if you enter 29 October as the ‘date applies to’ on the ILR, you will not receive LSF for October.

What does Learning support Funding (LSF1) cover? 


With millions of pounds going underspent in the AEB, what better way to ensure this money isn’t wasted than by using it to support LDD learners in adult education?

There isn’t one!

Learner support is a high priority, especially for adult learning courses that target some of the most disadvantaged learners.

It can help to create more accessibility and inclusivity in adult education and reduce reliance on sub-contractors.

When learners receive support tailored to their identified difficulties or disabilities, it enables them to participate, progress effectively and ultimately complete their training course. This success can lead to new training and employment opportunities.

When learners don’t receive proper support, they are more likely to feel stressed and drop out of their course, preventing further progress.

With a growing need for a blended approach, providers must still ensure that learners receive appropriate support, and that there is clear evidence of this support, even with remote learning.

Providers are able to use LSF1 to invest in resources that support learners with identified learning difficulties and disabilities and cover the costs of reasonable adjustments during adult education courses.

Reasonable adjustments, as set out in section 20 of the Equality Act 2010, can take many forms, including:

  • Extra time with tutors
  • Assistive technology – use of voice recognition software or text-to-speech software
  • Screen readers
  • Extra time during the assessment

There are many more options that all depend on a learner’s identified difficulties and disabilities. Initial assessment, including a comprehensive needs assessment, is essential to enable you to put a personalised plan in place for each learner as soon as possible.

Can you draw down AEB for shorter adult education courses? 


The ESFA calculate LSF1 payments for each full calendar month where organisations show evidence of the support provided. You can only claim LSF1 for courses that cover at least one whole calendar month. If you offer courses that are one month long in total but comprise of two partial months, these will not be eligible.

However, if your course is less than one month, you can use the earning adjustment statement to claim learning support costs of reasonable adjustments if applicable.

With this evidence in place, you can subsequently claim for the same learner if they choose to progress onto a separate or successive course using the same ILR and continued monthly evidence of the support provided.

Now, you might be wondering more about reasonable adjustments. Well, we have plenty of resources waiting for you in our reasonable adjustments hub.


Otherwise, you can download our practical handbook to help you support adult learners below…

What’s included?

  • How to understand the needs of your adult learners.
  • Best practice support for adult learners.
  • How to accurately demonstrate intent, implementation and impact to Ofsted.
  • How to build a learning journey with high impact support.
  • Best practices on AEB funding and evidencing.
How to support adult learners handbook