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Covid-19: Additional Costs to Schools

Volume 687: debated on Monday 18 January 2021

What financial support his Department is providing to schools to fund additional costs relating to the covid-19 outbreak. (910843)

Some £102 million of funding for exceptional covid-related costs incurred by schools in the first lockdown period of March to July 2020 has already been distributed to schools, and for November and December, schools under financial pressure that have exceptional additional staffing costs due to covid-related absences have been able to claim from the covid workforce fund.

I am grateful to the Minister for his response. He is aware from our discussions that many Twickenham schools have incurred significant one-off and ongoing costs to become covid secure that they have not been able to reclaim, at the same time as losing tens of thousands of pounds from lettings and fundraising. Many of them do not have significant cash reserves to rely on, nor does the council have the money to bail them out, so if schools are to reopen fully and safely as soon as possible, could the Minister please advise which staff and activities he thinks are expendable so that they can make ends meet?

The hon. Member will be aware that we secured a three-year funding settlement for schools, with a 4% increase in funding for the next financial year, and we have also secured for this year a £1 billion catch-up fund and the covid workforce fund. If a school is genuinely in financial difficulties, it should talk to the local authority if it is a maintained school, or to the Education and Skills Funding Agency if it is an academy.