Meet coronavirus costs from existing budgets, DfE tells schools

It has been confirmed that schools should meet the costs of wider reopening from their existing budgets, following updated guidance from the Department for Education (DfE). The updated guidance sets out how and for what schools can claim exceptional costs associated with coronavirus for the period from March to July 2020.

The areas which schools can claim for are increased premises costs related to schools staying open during the Easter and half term holidays for vulnerable children and the children of key workers; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not attending school; and additional cleaning - but only where this is as a result of one or more confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus at a school. Any other additional cleaning is not covered by the fund, despite schools being advised to increase the routine cleaning of workspaces and equipment in separate DfE guidance.

Furthermore schools are only eligible for reimbursement where the additional costs associated with coronavirus would result in a school having to use historic surpluses or increase the size of a historic deficit or prevent the planned repayment of a historic deficit. Where schools are unable to meet up-front payments related to coronavirus because of cash-flow issues, the DfE advises that ‘schools should follow the normal process for seeking short-term advances to support their cash flow by contacting the ESFA if they are an academy, or their local authority if they are a maintained school.’

Full DfE reimbursement guidance: https://tinyurl.com/qqynj9m

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