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Education: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 69419, tabled on 6 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) funding and (b) other support the Government has allocated to (i) the early years sector, (ii) primary schools, (iii) secondary schools; and (iv) further education institutions during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

14 July 2020

On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor confirmed that the Government will continue to pay local authorities as normal for free early years entitlement places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to support providers. On 18 March 2020, the Government also announced a business rates holiday for many nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Many early years providers also receive private income. The Government has therefore clarified the circumstances in which early years providers can seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). It has also provided information to early years providers on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. Childminders are less likely to be employers, and therefore are less likely to be eligible for support via the CJRS. We have therefore directed childminders towards guidance for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

Local Authority maintained schools (including pupil referral units) and academies (including free schools) continue to receive their budgets as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments.

We have put in place additional support to help schools meet exceptional costs they may incur as a result of COVID-19. These costs may arise as result of keeping premises open during the holidays, providing support for free school meals for eligible children who are not attending school (where those costs are not covered by the national voucher scheme described below), and additional cleaning.

We have provided a centrally-funded national voucher scheme to make sure eligible pupils can continue to access free school meals, given they are not able to attend school, including through the Easter school holidays. We have also announced a COVID-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to be supported over the summer holiday period.

We have made a commitment to boost remote education, including by providing devices and internet access for disadvantaged year 10 pupils, and those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers. We are ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to access Google and Microsoft’s education platforms, along with training on how to use the resources most effectively and peer support. We have also supported the Oak National Academy, which is a totally new initiative, assembling video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so.

We have launched a £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time, comprising £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year. Whilst headteachers will decide how the money is spent, the Government has supported the publication of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) guidance, which sets out a range of evidence-based approaches, including small group tuition.

A National Tutoring Programme, worth up to £350 million, which will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, with delivery starting later in the autumn term.

Further Education and Apprenticeship providers include further education colleges, sixth form colleges, designated institutions, independent training providers, adult and community learning providers, and higher education institutions to the extent that they provide further education or apprenticeships. They are funded in 3 main ways: by grant; under a direct contract for services with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA); or through a funding agreement with the ESFA (where provision is delivered under a contract directly with an employer, or through advanced learner loan funded learning).

The ESFA will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019 to 2020 funding year. We have also published guidance on how providers can access the wider Government support packages, including the CJRS. Some providers may also be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme or Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and we have directed them to guidance on eligibility. Where a provider receives Adult Education Budget (AEB), or apprenticeship funding, as part of a direct contract for services with the ESFA, and is at risk financially, they may be eligible for support (subject to meeting additional criteria) as part of the ESFA’s post-16 provider relief scheme.

On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor, announced a £1.6 billion package of investment in further education and skills. This investment will scale up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job and, in doing so, will stimulate the further education market.