New Funding Announced for Academies for Exceptional Costs of Covid-19

25th June 2020

The Government has announced some additional clarification regarding extra funding.

Main changes to previous guidance:

  • revised the section on the impact of schools’ financial reserves on eligibility for this funding
  • added details of what support schools can access to cover the loss of self-generated income which is not covered by this fund
  • confirmed that schools should proceed with a phased wider opening and any measures associated with it within existing resources, as any costs incurred as part of that process cannot be claimed through this fund

Specifically, schools are eligible for reimbursement where the additional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) would:

  • result in a school having to use historic surpluses
  • increase the size of a historic deficit
  • prevent the planned repayment of a historic deficit

The ESFA have also added the claim form which can be found here.

The funding is aimed at covering additional costs incurred in keeping schools open over Easter, but it won’t be paid to schools until the 2020-21 financial year.

It is aimed at covering costs, such as cleaning and other premises related costs, and covers the period up to the end of the 2019-2020 summer term. 

As always, the devil is in the detail.

If an academy is anticipating it will be able to add to its reserves in the 2020 to 2021 financial year (in other words they will make a surplus), then the DfE does not expect the academy to make a claim for any additional funding. However, the DfE does not expect an academy to draw on its existing reserves to meet the costs.

The scheme is not offering any funding for staffing costs relating to the Easter holidays. Instead, it is encouraging academies to use a rota system and/or share staff with other schools to minimise overtime.

The maximum amounts that can be claimed range from £25,000 for 250 pupils or fewer, up to £75,000 for over 1,000 pupils. The full details on the scheme and amounts can be found here.

Academies are expected to make payments from their existing budget, and the costs will need to be separately identified in their accounts. If an academy is experiencing a cash flow problem, then it can apply for a short term advance from the ESFA.

The DfE has also confirmed that it will extend the financial support to children eligible for free school meals that are not attending school over Easter. Academies will either be able to order vouchers through the national scheme, or will be reimbursed for additional costs. Here is the link to the national voucher scheme.

ASCL have published a cost calculator to help schools keep a log of additional costs, which can be found here.

If you have any queries, please contact your usual Bishop Fleming contact or email academies@bishopfleming.co.uk

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