Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th July 2020.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education), Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) primary school and (b) secondary school budgets.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Schools have continued to receive their budgets as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This ensures that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover specific unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

As schools’ costs will vary, we are giving schools the opportunity to claim online for the costs they have incurred due to: 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.

We have also announced a package of support consisting of a universal catch up premium for schools of £650 million to help them make up for lost teaching time, and a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged children and young people.

We recognise that during this period, many publicly funded schools are not able to secure income from private sources that they normally would, for example letting their facilities, providing wrap around childcare or offering catering services. Schools have been able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for staff delivering and funded by these services, if they are unable to make the necessary savings from their budgets or redeploy these staff.

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