We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Conservative government short-changing schools on Covid safe costs

February 1, 2021 10:11 PM

The Conservative Government will only reimburse less than one-third of the overall costs incurred by English schools in making their premises 'Covid-safe' according to a publication published recently by a leading education think-tank.

A report issued by the Education Policy Institute claims that government money made available through its exceptional costs fund will only cover 31% of overall costs, and in a survey covering 700 schools conducted in November, over half (57%) reported that they are using reserves to cover the shortfall, jeopardising their ability to achieve a balanced budget by the end of the current financial year.

The EPI estimates that, since the first national lockdown in March 2020, primary schools have had to meet additional non-staff costs averaging almost £13,000. These amounted to almost £18,000 for special schools and for secondary schools a whopping £43,000. Much of this was spent on cleaning supplies, personal protection equipment, improving hand-washing facilities, installing new signage, and acquiring digital equipment.

Commenting Leicestershire Liberal Democrat Finance spokesman Councillor Michael Mullaney said: "It is scandalous that whilst this Government told pupils and staff to return to the classroom, meanwhile they were short-changing schools by not meeting their full costs to make their establishments 'Covid-safe'. Here in Leicestershire schools are already among the worst funded by the government in the country to then expect them to have to meet much of the cost of making them Covid safe is unfair."

"Leicestershire Liberal Democrats will continue to press the government to ensure that enough cash is forthcoming for schools to ensure that when all pupils and staff return to the classroom from virtual learning they can be kept safe. More broadly the government underfunding of our schools in Leicestershire just reflects the broader picture of Leicestershire being let down by government, with our areas County Council being the worst funded in the country and our Police Service being massively underfunded compared to other areas."

Councillor Robin Webber-Jones Hinckley and Bosworth Children and Young people's champion said ""the research shows that the current circumstances will impact negatively on the life chances of the majority of children and young people. Teachers are working very hard to ensure there are resources and learning opportunities for children and young people and families are doing all they can to support children at home. The government should be doing all it can to prove to children and young people that character matters and when something is promised it should be delivered!"

The report from the Education Policy Institute can be sourced here https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/covid-19-cost-pressures-on-schools/