Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th February 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Conservative, Sutton Coldfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support his Department is allocating to schools to help with cleaning and testing costs incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The Department has provided additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. We have paid schools £102 million for all claims in the first claims window that were within the published scope of the fund, and we will shortly process claims made in the second window in December 2020.

Last term, the Department announced the COVID-19 workforce fund for schools and colleges, to help those with high staff absences and facing significant financial pressures to stay open. It funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold from 1 November 2020 until the end of the autumn term. We expect the schools claims form to be launched in spring 2021.

The Department will also fund schools for costs relating to COVID-19 testing. We have published a workforce planning tool which illustrates the levels of funding available. Funding will be paid to schools who have conducted testing in respect of workforce costs and other incidental costs relating to testing, such as waste disposal.

The Government is delivering catch-up funding worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Alongside this, we have also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils, including the National Tuition Fund for students age 16-19.

Finally, schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure schools can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

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