Schools: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th January 2022.

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Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the additional funding required by schools to cover the costs of hiring agency workers as a result of teachers self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

School leaders and staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure all pupils have been able to return to school safely. The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools whilst cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

This should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. This financial year, in 2021-22, mainstream school funding for 5 to 16-year-olds increased by 3.5% overall. In financial year 2022-23 it will increase by a further 5.8%, or £300, cash increase in funding per pupil, on average.

This funding boost will rapidly give schools the resources they need to rise to the challenges of COVID-19 response and recovery, increase teacher pay, and meet the cost of the Health and Social Care Levy, while continuing their work to raise attainment and educational outcomes for all children and young people.

Schools have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils. Schools will be able to use their existing budgets to help with the costs associated with COVID-19 absences.

The department has re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges for absence costs from 22 November until 18 February. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures to continue to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

All schools can access a range of school resource management tools to help them get the best value from their resources. Schools in financial difficulty should contact the Educational Skills and Funding Agency or their local authority.

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