The ESFA has confirmed that schools will continue to receive their core funding allocations through the general annual grant for academies  and budget share for maintained schools  for the 2020 to 2021 financial year. This will happen regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure and will ensure schools can continue to pay staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

Local authorities will also continue to receive their high needs budgets and should continue to pay top-up and other high needs funding to schools. This will ensure that the employment and payment of staff supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can continue.

Similarly, where schools pay top-up or other funding for pupils attending alternative provision (AP), or pay for other SEND or AP services, these payments should continue so that teachers and other staff can be paid in accordance with their existing employment contracts.

Funding will be available to schools that are unable to meet additional costs due to COVID 19 from their existing resources, or which they could only meet by drawing down on reserves and undermining their long-term financial sustainability.

Whilst ESFA are not asking schools to draw on existing reserves to meet these costs, they do not expect schools to make a claim against this funding if they are anticipating that they will be able to add to their reserves in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

Additional costs covered by the fund
  • Increased Premises costs
    • including utilities and resources needed to keep the school open, such as hygiene services) associated with keeping schools open during the Easter and/or summer half term holidays, for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, over and above the costs that schools would have faced in other circumstances
  • Support for free school meals for eligible children who are not attending school-
    • where those costs are not covered by the FSM national voucher scheme - this covers costs to schools arising before the introduction of the national voucher scheme
    • costs where schools are providing free meals to children for whom the national voucher scheme is inappropriate (for example, because there are no participating supermarkets locally or schools are providing meals directly)
  • Additional cleaning
If a school faces other extraordinary costs to deliver appropriate support to their pupils through this period that are not covered by this list and cannot be met by existing budgets, they should contact

How schools access funding

ESFA are asking schools to make the necessary payments from their existing budgets and record these in line with local finance policies.

Further guidance should be published in June on the process on how to inform the ESFA of any additional costs relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). ESFA will make payments direct to academies, or to local authorities to pass onto their schools.

Funding Allowances
  • Schools should keep records of all expenditure relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) These records will be necessary for local audit arrangements
  • The headteacher or school business manager who submits the claim should sign their name against any claim
  • Schools should be able to identify this income and the related expenditure when reporting their accounts
ESFA has confirmed they will not be asking for detailed information of the individual items on a claim routinely, but trusts should hold a record of what has been covered, in case of individual enquiries.
ESFA reserve the right to audit the expenditure and clawback money if claims have not been made in accordance with the guidance, in order to protect public spending.

Limits for Schools
Mainstream schools  
250 pupils or fewer
251 to 500 pupils
501 to 1000 pupils
Over 1000 pupils
Special schools and alternative provision  
All schools
Pupil numbers will be defined by the following data:
2 to 4 year olds headcount of funded places from January 2020
5 to 16 year olds headcount from October 2019 census
16 to 19 year olds pupil numbers from 2019 to 2020 academic year allocations

ESFA recognise that some schools may be unable to make up-front payments to cover the additional costs due to coronavirus (COVID-19) because of cash flow issues. In these circumstances, 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.
Any non-maintained special school with a cash flow difficulty should seek advice from the ESFA in the first instance

Full details on the funding can be found here

If you have any further questions please contact us on: 

Finance Helpline 03456 037684