Overdue Planned Breaks in PICSWeb QAR Calculations

Aims which are on a planned break (completion status 6) are normally excluded from Achievement Rates. However where aims have been on a planned break for a long time and not restarted, the ESFA treats them as an Achievement Rate withdrawal. These aims are referred to as Overdue Planned Breaks and count towards the QAR totals in the same way as any other withdrawn learner.

PICS uses the following calculation to decide of a learner should be excluded as an Overdue Planned Break (this is based on the wording in the ESFA QAR Specification).

Identifying Overdue Planned Break Aims

An aim is considered to be on a planned break if:

  • The aim Completion Status is 6.

  • The aim end date is not blank.

  • The aim end date is in the year before the QAR year or earlier. e.g. for the 2021 QAR the end date must before 31/07/2021 (the end of 2020). Aims which ended in the QAR year are not considered overdue as they have until the end of the following year to return.

  • They do not have a corresponding restart aim (see below).

Calculating the "Latest Restart Date" for an Aim

If an aim is on planned break, it must have a corresponding restarted aim to prevent it becoming overdue. Depending on the end date of the aim, there are different rules for when the aim must have been restarted:

  • If the aim end date was 2 years or more before the QAR year, the latest restart date is the last day of the aim end year plus two years. e.g. for the 2021 QAR, if the aim ended on 04 Jan 2020 (2019), there must be a restarted aim by 31 Jul 2021 (last day of 2020).

  • If the aim end date was in the year immediately before the QAR year, the latest restart date is the last day of R04 submission in the year after the QAR year. e.g. for the 2021 QAR, if an aim ended on 15 Mar 2021 (2020), there must be a restarted aim by 30 Nov 2022 (R04 2022).

Identifying Restart Aims

An aim on planned break (the "planned-break-aim") is deemed to have a corresponding restarted aim where an aim exists fulfilling these criteria:

  • The aim start date is before the latest restart date for the planned-break-aim (see above).

  • The Restart FAM field is 1.

  • The aim reference is the same as the planned-break-aim reference.

  • The aim start date is greater than the planned-break-aim end date.

  • The aim original start date is equal to the planned-break-aim start date or planned-break-aim original start date (to cope with learners with multiple planned breaks for the same aim).

How Overdue Planned Breaks Affect the Achievement Rates and the Hybrid End Year

The year in which an overdue planned break is counted (the "hybrid end year") is based on the year of the later of the actual and expected end dates, plus one year. So if an overdue aim ended in 2019 but was expected to end in 2020, they would count towards the 2021 Overall totals.

For mid-year achievement rates, PICS calculates the "hybrid end date" or "overall date" (which is converted to the Overall Period). This is normally the latest of the planned and actual end dates, but for overdue planned breaks this is calculated as the first day of the calculated hybrid end year.

Overdue Planned Breaks are treated as withdrawals for the purpose of Overall QAR data. Therefore they count towards the total number of learners for a year, but do not have an achievement. Overdue Planned Breaks do not affect timely achievement rates.

A Note on the “QAR Year” and PICSWeb

In PICS Desktop, the QAR Year was based on the explicit report selected e.g. the “2020 Apprenticeship QAR”. In PICSWeb, we do not offer explicit reports for each year’s calculations. Instead, we calculate the QAR Year based on the date selected for the report (i.e. the To date on the report options screen) and the report will always use the latest available ESFA calculation methodology.

Therefore, if the report is run for 31st July and then 1st August, the QAR Year will increase by one and can affect any calculations which are based on the QAR year. This is especially true for Overdue Planned Breaks where learners can suddenly be included in the report as a withdrawal despite only changing the report date by one day - this is because aims which end in the QAR year cannot be overdue, but they can if they end in the year previous to it.

So to provide some examples in context, if the QAR report is run to 31st July 2021, and therefore the QAR Year is 2020:

  1. If an aim ended in 2018, and there isn't a restart by 31st July 2020 (the end of 2019), the aim is an overdue planned break.

  2. If an aim ended in 2019 and there isn't a restart by 30th November 2021 (end of R04 2021), the aim is an overdue planned break.

  3. If an aim ended in 2020 (the QAR Year) is it NOT an overdue planned break and is excluded from the report, regardless of whether there is a restarted aim.

However, if the report is run with a date of 1st August 2021 or later, the QAR Year changes to 2021 and the calculations all slip by one year.

It's at this point that any learner who started a planned break in 2020 now falls into category 2 - they ended in the year immediately prior to the QAR year and doesn't yet have a restart by the end of R04 in the year after it (30th November 2022), so they are treated as overdue planned breaks and included in the overall calculations. It's effectively the same as the ESFA running the QAR Report for 2021 at the end of the year.