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To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 55133 on Schools: Coronavirus, for what reasons his Department is not reimbursing schools that have used their existing resources to fund increased costs resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.
We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover certain unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.
Schools are eligible to claim for increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.
Schools are not eligible to make a claim against this fund if they expect to add to their existing historic surpluses in their current financial year (September 2019 to August 2020 for academies and April 2020 to March 2021 for maintained schools). This means schools cannot claim if they began their current financial year with an accumulated historic surplus and expect to increase that surplus this year and thereby finish the year with a higher level of reserves than they started.
Schools are eligible for reimbursement where the additional costs associated with COVID-19 would result in a school having to use historic surpluses; increase the size of a historic deficit; or prevent the planned repayment of a historic deficit.
It is reasonable for taxpayers to expect that further public funding through this period is not adding to existing surpluses that are held by schools. Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial closure or reduced operations.