William Eichler 30 November 2020

COVID-19 school workforce fund launched

The Government has announced a short-term COVID-19 workforce fund to help keep schools and colleges open during the pandemic.

The fund, which will be backdated to 1 November and cover the current half term, is designed for schools and colleges facing funding pressure, and will cover the costs of staff absences over a minimum threshold.

‘Keeping schools and colleges open is a national priority, which is why I am launching the COVID workforce fund, to support schools and colleges facing significant budget pressures and staff absences,’ said education secretary Gavin Williamson.

Schools will be eligible for this additional funding once their financial reserves have decreased to 4% of their annual income. Colleges’ eligibility will be based on their cash position set out in the November financial return.

Mainstream schools and colleges must be experiencing a short-term teacher absence rate at or above 20%, and/or a lower long-term teacher absence rate at or above 10%.

Special schools and Alternative Provision schools must be experiencing a short-term teacher absence rate at or above 15%, and/or a lower long-term teacher absence rate at or above 10%.

‘This new funding comes on top of our funding for schools facing exceptional costs during the summer months, the £1bn COVID catch up fund to help all children make up for lost learning, and the core school funding that is seeing the biggest increase in a decade,’ said Mr Williamson.

‘I know how hard school and college staff and leaders have worked over the past nine months, and I want to once again thank everyone working in education for going above and beyond while we continue to deal with the extra pressures caused by the pandemic.’

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