Education Planning Group: Schools Finance update... 4 December

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Latest COVID-19 finance information for schools

COVID exceptional costs – first tranche

DfE have now confirmed that those schools which claimed under the ‘other’ category as part of the first tranche of claims will not be reimbursed in respect of this element of their claims. 

Schools should have already received reimbursement for that part of their claims not relating to the ‘other’ category.

COVID exceptional costs – second tranche

A claim window will open early in December, closing on 22 December 2020, for schools to claim eligible costs for the period March – July 2020 that they have not already submitted claims for.  Claims can only be submitted under the 3 eligible categories (premises, FSMs for children not attending school not covered by the national scheme, and cleaning).  Claims for FSMs can also include support for the summer holidays for costs outside of the COVID Summer Food Fund. 

There will be no opportunity to submit claims after 22 December 2020.

COVID Workforce Fund

This fund (read Government News Release), which covers the period 1 November to the end of the Autumn Term 2020, covers the costs of high levels of staff absences to help ensure schools and colleges can remain open.  Claims can include the cost of bringing in supply teachers or paying additional hours for teachers who are part time.

There are a number of conditions that have to be met before schools or colleges can claim:

Reserves

  •  schools are expected to use existing reserves to meet costs and can only claim when reserves are at the level of 4% of annual income.  FE Colleges eligibility will be based on their cash position set out in the November financial return.

Absence rates

  • mainstream schools and colleges must be experiencing a short term teacher absence rate at or above 20%, and/or long term teacher absence at or above 10%.  Costs can only be claimed when incurred above this rate.
  • Special schools and AP schools must be experiencing short term teacher absence at or above 15% and/or long term teacher absence rate at or above 10%.  Costs can only be claimed when incurred above this rate.

For all teacher absences claimed at or above these levels, schools will need to certify that they have first tried appropriate staffing mitigations as set out in Guidance for full opening: schools   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools , and that claims are necessary in keeping schools open. 

Support staff

  • claims for support staff absences will be on an exceptional only basis, where necessary to keep schools and colleges open.  There will be greater flexibility for claims for these staff in special/AP schools.