7 April 2020
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a package of support, including additional funding, to help schools and parents deal with the challenges posed by coronavirus.
The money will cover unforeseen additional costs including for cleaning and keeping schools open over Easter to continue to care for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.
The Government has also confirmed that it will extend financial support to children eligible for free schools meals who are not attending school during the Easter holidays.
While many schools already have local arrangements in place, this funding means that schools which do not will be able to order vouchers for families through the national scheme or, where they have alternative arrangements in place, be reimbursed for additional costs.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Schools across the country are going above and beyond to support children during this hugely challenging period. We must support them every step of the way, which is why we are making extra funding available, on top of existing budgets, to any school facing unavoidable costs incurred due to the coronavirus crisis.”
The Government has also published a list of high-quality resources that parents and schools can consider to support education at home. Details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.
This includes a wide range of resources for all ages that schools can consider using as part of their planned curriculum and will be updated over time. Schools have already been drawing on existing resources and tools they are familiar with to support children to continue learning at home and should continue to do so, the DfE advised.
Details of the additional funding can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.
In summary, the specific costs schools can claim for are:
additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases;
increased premises related costs needed to keep schools open during holidays; and
support for free school meals for eligible children who are not attending school, where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme.