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Claiming staffing costs for maintained schools

Claiming staffing costs for maintained schools

This briefing note summarises the published guidance for claiming additional staff costs incurred due to coronavirus.  Actual claims will cannot be made until Spring 2021 and further guidance will be in the new year.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) workforce fund to support schools with costs of staff absences from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2020 - GOV.UK

To claim, schools must meet, or exceed, either:

  • the short-term threshold – teacher absence rates of 20% (15% for special schools)
  • the long-term threshold (15 days or more consecutive absence) – teacher absence rates of 10%

Only the costs incurred above these thresholds can be claimed – not the whole cost of covering absence.

Teaching staff

Who

  • schools can only claim for covering the absences of permanent staff or those employed on a long-term contract not temporary staff

What

  • agency or directly employed supply or support staff if no teacher is available
  • increasing hours of part-time teaching staff to cover teacher absences, or increasing hours of part-time education support staff where that role is to cover teacher
  • making necessary amendments to support staff terms and conditions to enable them to take on additional responsibilities

When

Between 1 November to 31 December, a claim can be made:

  • where total teacher and leader absence rates are at 20% or above on a given day
  • where for 15 or more consecutive school days total teacher and leader absence rates are at 10% or above

Support staff

Who

  • schools can only claim for covering the absences of permanent staff or those employed on a long-term contract not temporary staff. Support staff costs, both educational and non-educational, can only be claimed if they are necessary in ensuring the school remains open to all pupils or fulfilling a legal duty
  • educational: teaching assistants or specialist support staff
  • non-education support staff: cleaning, catering, transport or caretaking staff
  • special schools or AP settings: may also include therapists and other support staff in health-related roles

What

  • employing supply education and non-education support staff either through agencies or directly contracting
  • increasing hours of part-time education and non-education support staff - schools should seek to ensure staff are happy to temporarily increase their hours and full consideration is given to their workload and well-being

When

  • schools can claim for education and non-education support staff absences on an exceptional only basis

What can’t be claimed

  • training or other incidental staff-related costs
  • increasing pro rata pay, unless there is a commensurate increase in responsibilities associated with undertaking the work
  • costs outside the claims period 1 November – 31 December 2020
  • costs incurred up to the absence thresholds

Criteria for making a claim

Pre-requisite criteria

  • schools must be open to all pupils – cannot claim on days where school is closed
  • alternative options have been tried e.g. using existing staff to cover absence
  • schools must certify that the spend is necessary to keep the school open
  • must be able to provide evidence of costs
  • costs cannot be claimed through an existing insurance policy

Financial reserves criteria

  • the revenue balance which includes any community reserves at 31 March 2021 is projected to be less than 4% of the annual income
  • a clawback provision is in place for schools who do not meet the criteria

Workforce absence criteria

  • teacher absence rates are calculated at school not individual level
  • absence rates are calculated daily
  • only costs incurred in exceeding the threshold and within qualifying consecutive days can be claimed

Guidance on accessing if a claim is appropriate

  • determine 15 consecutive school days for your school up to 31 October 2020 – do not include inset days or days when the school was closed. This will be your start point.
  • calculate the % absence for these qualifying days and any other days until the 31st December 2020 where the school was fully open.
  • identify any days within the claim period (1 November to 31 December) where absence rates were 20% or more. (15% for a special school)
  • determine any period of 15 or more consecutive days where the absence was 10% or more.

Claims can be made for:

  • each day in the claim period where absence rates are in excess of 20%
  • each day in the claim period from day 15 onwards in a consecutive period where absence levels are above the 10% threshold

The start of the consecutive day period can begin in October, but claims can only be made for days in November or December.  If levels fall below 10% the current qualifying period ends.

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