The COVID-19 workforce fund for schools and academies extended to Easter

  • 15th March 2022

The coronavirus (COVID-19) workforce fund has now been extended for costs incurred due to staff absences directly relating to COVID, providing financial support to eligible schools and colleges for costs from Monday 22 November 2021 to Friday 8 April 2022.

To ensure schools are able to continue to delivery face-to-face, outstanding quality education to all pupils, the fund is available to support the schools and colleges suffering. The claims process will be open in the spring, how to make the claim and more information about the deadline will be published in due course.

Funding is available for all state-funded mainstream and special schools, and alternative provision that provide education to all pupils who are required to be in compulsory education. This includes:

  • primary, secondary and all through maintained schools, academies and free schools
  • 16 to 19 academies and maintained schools
  • maintained special schools, and special academies and free schools
  • non-maintained special schools
  • pupil referral units
  • AP academies and free schools
  • maintained and academy hospital schools

Registered independent special schools and independent schools are also eligible to claim for the staff they employ to support pupils whose placements are funded from local authorities’ high needs budgets.

In order to manage absences, schools can do the following:

  • altering the way in which they deploy their staff and using existing staff more flexibly
  • making the best use of teaching assistants
  • hosting initial teacher training (ITT) trainees
  • using volunteers
  • engaging supply staff using in-year allocated budget
  • seeking support from the local authority or trust

To cover teacher absences, schools can claim for the following expenditure:

  • employing, through agencies or directly contracting, supply teachers, or supply support staff
  • increasing hours of part-time teaching staff or increasing hours of part-time education support staff - schools should ensure staff are happy to temporarily increase their hours and consider staff workload and wellbeing
  • making necessary amendments to support staff terms and conditions to enable them to take on additional responsibilities - the head teacher and the employer should determine this in discussions with the employee

Support staff absences can be covered for increasing hours of part-time education and non-education support staff. It is also covered for employing supply education and non-education support staff including agencies.

For covering teacher and support staff absences, schools cannot claim for increasing pro-rata pay, (unless there is an increase in responsibilities relating to the undertaking work as well as training of other incidental staff-related costs).

Expenditure which is not permitted within this fund is capital costs to support staff delivering education remotely and enabling schools to maintain their reserves above the 4% annual limit set out in the financial reserves criteria. Please contact us if you would like to know how to calculate the 4% limit.

For further information please contact our Forrester Boyd education team.

You can find full details of the COVID-19 workforce fund for schools here.


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