To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funds he is making available for (a) schools, (b) childcare facilities and (c) universities for deep cleaning after cases of covid-19.
29 September 2020
The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.
Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. We have published detailed guidance on the fund at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.
As explained in the guidance, schools can claim for reimbursement of their costs, up to a maximum amount that will depend on their size, and will be no more than £75,000 per school. We expect the funding limits which have been set by the size of the school are sufficient to cover additional costs in most cases. The Department understands that there may be exceptional circumstances which mean that costs are higher than this, so schools have been able to submit claims that are more than the funding limit.
The first claims window for the fund closed on 21 July. All claims for funding within the specified cost categories and maximum limit have already been paid. The Department is assessing all other claims, which will be paid later in the autumn if approved.
There will also be a further opportunity in autumn for schools to claim for exceptional costs they faced between March and July. This second claims window will be for available for schools who were unable to claim in the summer, and will be for the same eligible cost categories.
Nurseries and childminders cannot claim for specific costs incurred due to increased premises costs needed to keep schools open during school holidays, or over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements as a result of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. The Department continues to look at the costs associated with COVID-19 and to secure the best and most appropriate support for nurseries and childminders.
The Department also expects universities and other higher education providers to prioritise the health and safety of their staff and students and put in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances. To help universities make informed decisions about their provision, we have updated our guidance on reopening university buildings and campuses to reflect the latest public health advice, including on face coverings, local lockdowns and test and trace. Everyone should be following basic guidance on COVID-19, including social distancing and maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene.