4 January 2021
Government Launch COVID-19 Workforce Funding for Schools and Colleges
Funding to be made available to support schools, colleges and special post-16 institutions in England with the costs of staff absences for the period from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2020.
Last month, the Prime Minister confirmed that all education settings would remain open across all local restriction tiers. Financial support has been made available to help those schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures.
The fund offers support for schools and colleges in England that meet the criteria to help meet the cost of covering workforce absences experienced from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2020 inclusive.
Schools and colleges can backdate claims to 1 November 2020 where they met the eligibility criteria.
The government will continue to review the pressures colleges are facing as they move into next term and what further action might be needed.
Funding is available to:
- General FE colleges
- Sixth form colleges
- Special post-16 institutions
Funding is also available to all state-funded mainstream and special schools, and alternative provision (AP) that provide education to all pupils who are required to be in compulsory education, including:
- Primary, secondary and all through maintained schools, academies and free schools
- 16 to 19 academies and maintained schools
- Maintained special schools, and special academies and free schools
- Non-maintained special schools
- Pupil referral units
- AP academies and free schools
- Maintained and academy hospital schools.
Registered independent special schools and independent schools delivering AP are also eligible to claim for staff they employ to support pupils whose placements are funded from local authorities’ high needs budgets.
Eligible costs are split into two categories:
- To cover teacher absences, applicants can claim for the cost of:
- Employing, either through agencies or directly contracting, supply teachers, or supply support staff where that role is to cover teacher absences
- Increasing hours of part-time teaching staff where the additional hours are being used to cover teacher absences or increasing hours of part-time education support staff where that role is to cover teacher absences, colleges should make sure staff are happy to temporarily increase their hours and consider their workload and wellbeing
- Making necessary amendments to support staff terms and conditions to enable them to take on additional responsibilities – this will be for the principal or chief executive to determine in discussions with the employee.
- To cover support staff absences, applicants can claim for the cost of:
- Employing supply education and non-education support staff either through agencies or directly contracting
- Increasing the hours of part-time education and non-education support staff, colleges should make sure staff are happy to temporarily increase their hours and consider their workload and wellbeing.
The Department for Education (DfE) are asking schools and colleges to make the necessary payments from their existing budgets and record these in line with local finance policies.
Schools and colleges will be able to make claims for costs eligible for reimbursement through this fund in spring 2021, when the DfE will publish detailed guidance about the claims process.