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Support for Education Sector

Support for Education Sector

Due to the variety of organisations in the education, early years and children’s social care sectors and the different types of support on offer, it may be appropriate for organisations to access a mixture of different support. Below we have shown the different support available for specific sectors.

  1. Early years
  2. Children’s social care providers
  3. State-funded schools
  4. Supply teachers and other contingent workers in state-funded schools
  5. High needs funding
  6. Independent schools
  7. Further education and apprenticeships
  8. Higher Education

Early years

Childminders that are not employers may find the Self Employment Income Support Scheme more relevant. 

The government will continue to pay local authorities for free early years entitlement places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to support providers at this time. 

The government also announced a business rates holiday for many nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Early years settings should remain open where they are needed to provide childcare for the children of critical workers who cannot be cared for safely at home, and vulnerable children.

A private provider employer can seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, if they meet the following conditions:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and where their salary is not covered by public funding the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded (free entitlement funding)
  • (where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received, and would not lead to financial reserves being created

If it is difficult to distinguish whether staff are funded through free entitlement or private income for the purposes of meeting the first 3 conditions as listed above, then an early years provider can access the Job Retention Scheme to cover up to the proportion of its paybill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income. This would typically be income received from ‘parent-paid’ hours, and excludes all income from the government’s free entitlements (or ‘DSG income’) for all age groups. Providers should initially use the month of February 2020 to represent their usual income in calculating the proportion of its paybill eligible to be covered by the scheme. Providers should adjust these proportions in subsequent furloughing applications if their income from the government’s free entitlements changes, but are not expected to make any adjustments in relation to changes in parent-paid income.

Some early years settings may also be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF). For more information, and to find out how to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, please refer to the Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance.

Further guidance for early years providers is available.

For school-based nursery provision, please refer to the ‘schools’ section below.

Children’s social care providers

The government are asking providers to remain open and to continue to deliver care and support to their vulnerable children and young people. 

As placements will continue to be needed, local authorities will continue to pay fees to children’s social care providers.

As these payments for essential services will continue, the government expect providers not to furlough staff. However, if providers feel they have no choice but to furlough staff, they should only seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they meet the following conditions:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding
  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded
  • the employee is not required to deliver provision for a vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received and would not lead to financial reserves being created.

The government has also announced £1.6 billion of extra funding for local authorities to help address pressures arising from coronavirus (COVID-19), including in children’s social care.

Residential provision

Local authorities will continue to receive funding for social care provision and should continue to pay residential costs so that the employment and payment of staff supporting children and young people who require residential provision can continue.

Some independent schools have joint registration as a children’s home, and are effectively funded by local authorities that place the children in those settings. This funding should continue.

State-funded schools

Mainstream state-funded schools

Local authority maintained schools (including pupil referral units) and academies (including free schools) will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. 

As schools face additional costs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). We have put in place additional support to help schools meet these costs; guidance is available on this additional funding.

The government have suggested that schools should first seek to make the necessary savings from their existing budget or consider options to redeploy staff that are typically paid from private income streams. Only after all other potential options have been fully considered should schools furlough those members of staff and seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The following conditions need to be met:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding
  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded
  • (where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received and would not lead to financial reserves being created

Academies Support

The ESFA put together some updates for Academies on 22 April including:

  1. Fraud risk - there has been some fraudulent letters being sent giving the impression it is from the ESFA asking for bank details of learners.  No bank details should be shared.
  2. Data collection - a number of data collection activities have been cancelled or suspended.  A summary can be found at the link below and includes some reference to financial returns such as cancellation of the BFRO for academies which was due in May.

Read more here.

School Governance

Information on school governance in light of Covid on the National Governance Association webpage (promoted by ESFA), can be found here.

Supply teachers and other contingent workers in state-funded schools

Where schools are the workers’ direct employer

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This will ensure that they can continue to pay for staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

Hence, we expect schools to ensure any employees funded by public money continue to be paid in the usual fashion from their existing staff budgets, and correspondingly not furloughed, in line with the HM Revenue and Customs guidance for public sector organisations.

Where schools have live assignments with contingent workers, and where the school is the workers’ employer, schools should continue to pay these workers from their existing school budgets and not furlough them.

Where schools have terminated contracts with contingent workers due to coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier than the original terms set out, and where the school was the workers’ employer under that contract, schools should reinstate these contracts on the terms previously agreed, as long as the contractor is not already accessing alternative support through another government support scheme.

Where schools are not the workers’ direct employer

Schools are advised to refer to all parts of the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 (PPN 02/20), which provides guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure the continuity of critical service during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Where schools have agency workers on live assignments who can continue to work, they may continue to make previously agreed payments for the supply of workers in line with the approach set out in PPN 02/20. Agencies who receive money for workers in line with this guidance should not furlough these workers, and should follow the open book accounting rules set out in PPN 02/20 to provide schools with proof that workers are continuing to be paid as normal.

Where schools have agency workers on live assignments who cannot continue to work due to coronavirus (COVID-19), schools and agencies should refer to the guidance set out in Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Contingent Workers Impacted by COVID-19.

The supplier relief guidance covers the length of existing live assignments up to the end date that had been previously agreed. It does not require these assignments to be extended further if the resource will not be required.

Where agency workers are not on live assignments with schools, or where a previously agreed assignment is due to end, schools and agencies should discuss any further demand for the worker. If there is no further demand, the employer can apply to furlough the worker via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Once a worker has been furloughed, they become unavailable to work and cannot provide services for their employer for a minimum of 3 weeks. Schools and agencies should bear this in mind when discussing ongoing resource requirements and agencies should keep this under regular review. 

Where a worker is self-employed

Self-employed workers who are unable to work because of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be able to access support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Starting new temporary contracts

We expect schools will use their existing staff to maintain necessary provision, but schools may also continue to need supply teachers and other temporary workers throughout this period. We encourage schools and agencies to continue to liaise about any potential need to ensure workers are available where required.

High needs funding

Local authorities will continue to receive their high needs budgets and should continue to pay top-up and other high needs funding so that the employment and payment of staff supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and those requiring alternative provision, can continue. High needs funding will therefore continue to be paid to the following types of setting, whether from local or central government:

  • local authority-maintained schools (mainstream, special and pupil referral units)
  • academies and free schools (mainstream, special and alternative provision)
  • non-maintained special schools
  • independent schools, including independent special schools
  • independent alternative provision
  • high needs places in further education (FE) colleges and sixth form colleges
  • special post-16 providers
  • hospital schools

Funding will be maintained and should not be reduced because some or all children and young people are not in attendance (because of sickness or self-isolation, or where the institution has temporarily or partially closed).

Teaching and non-teaching staff (administration, operations, maintenance and catering) should not be furloughed where they are funded from continued high needs funding, and where necessary and feasible, should be available for redeployment within settings and in other settings to assist in maintaining provision for vulnerable children and young people, and the children of critical workers.

Residential special schools

While the educational costs will continue to be funded from the DSG, the residential costs are met from social care budgets. Local authorities will continue to receive funding for social care provision and should continue to pay residential costs so that the employment and payment of staff supporting children and young people who require residential provision can continue.

Independent schools

Mainstream independent schools

Independent schools have been asked to remain open for the children of critical workers and the most vulnerable children.

These institutions should access the support schemes referred to above, in order to retain staff and enable the school to reopen fully in due course.

However, if there are any activities for which schools continue to receive public funding, such as looked after children placed by a local authority, or local authority support for pupils with EHC plans, we expect schools to use that money to continue to pay those staff in the usual fashion – and therefore not furlough them or seek support via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Independent special schools

The majority of pupils in independent special schools have been placed there by local authorities under an EHC plan, funded from the high needs block of the DSG.

Local authorities will continue to receive their high needs budgets and should continue to pay top-up and other high needs funding to independent special schools, so that the employment and payment of staff supporting children and young people with SEND can continue. Some independent special schools also have pupils who are funded privately instead of under an EHC plan.

These institutions should only access the support schemes in relation to the proportion of staff that is not supported through public funding, and only to the extent that the school is facing a loss of income because the children have been withdrawn by their parents leading to a loss of fee income.

Further education and apprenticeships

Further education and apprenticeship providers are funded in 3 main ways:

  • By grant
  • Under a direct contract for services with ESFA
  • Through a funding agreement with the ESFA (where provision is delivered under a contract for services between a levy paying employer and an apprenticeships training provider, or advanced learner loan funded learning).

Where the provider is continuing to receive public funding through any of these routes they should continue delivering this provision where feasible, including through remote delivery. They should not furlough staff whose salaries are paid from continuing Education and Skills Funding Agency (or any other public) income. This applies to both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Where public income has reduced or non-public income has ceased or reduced, it may be appropriate for providers to seek support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough staff. Providers should only furlough employees if they meet the following conditions:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding
  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded
  • (where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received and would not lead to financial reserves being created

If it is difficult to distinguish whether staff are funded through continuing public funding, to meet the first 3 conditions listed above, then the total proportion of teaching and non-teaching staff (based on gross payroll) that are retained (for example, not furloughed) should, as a minimum, be equivalent to the continuing public income, as a proportion of all income that the provider usually receives. 

Where a provider receives Adult Education Budget (AEB), or apprenticeship funding, as part of a direct contract for services with ESFA, and is at risk financially, they may be eligible for support (subject to meeting additional criteria) as part of DfE’s response to the Cabinet Office’s Procurement Policy Note 02/20. Support provided through that mechanism would count as public funding for conditions covering the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Further guidance on the operation of any supplier relief scheme for providers funded under a contract for services with ESFA will be published when available. Providers should email ESFA.PPN220Queries@education.gov.uk to register their interest in the scheme.

In instances where public funding is not delivered under a contract for services with the ESFA, the Cabinet Officer’s Procurement Policy Note 02/20 is not applicable.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite COVID-19. The support we are providing includes:

  • confirming flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training and to take their end-point assessment, and to allow existing furloughed employees to start a new apprenticeship, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible - this is in order to support employers, providers and end-point assessment organisation (EPAOs) to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled
  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning in March so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks
  • confirming that where apprentices are made redundant and are ready to go through gateway, that providers and EPAOs are able to make the necessary assessment arrangements to support these apprentices

Some providers may also be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme or Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. For more information on eligibility, please consult your commercial bank or refer to the financial support for businesses guidance.

Special post-16 institutions

Local authorities will continue to receive their high needs budgets and should continue to pay top-up and other high needs funding to special post-16 institutions, so that the employment and payment of staff supporting young people with SEND can continue. The ESFA will continue to provide high needs place funding. Similarly, local authorities should continue to support the residential costs of those students that are in residential provision.

In compliance with Procurement Policy Note 02/20 (PPN2/20), the government are putting in place short term measures to support training provider cash flow based on an assessment of need. However, training providers must try and continue to deliver education and training to their existing apprentices and learners. Read more about the post-16 provider relief scheme here.

As with colleges, special post-16 institutions may rely on non-grant income for young people with EHC plans. If such income has ceased or reduced, it may be appropriate for special post-16 institutions to seek support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough staff who are working on activities relating to those non-grant income streams, in the same way as providers as set out above.

Higher Education

The government will work with HE providers to help them access the range of measures on offer too:

  • support financial viability and sustainability
  • safeguard jobs (including those staff on casual, hourly paid or fixed-term contracts)

The Student Loans Company is planning to make Term 3 tuition fee payments as scheduled.

If HE providers meet the published criteria for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), they should consider approaching their bank to apply for the scheme, if they judge that is needed. HE providers who do not meet the criteria, namely those with turnover exceeding £500m, may similarly wish to explore the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and should liaise with their bank to discuss eligibility. If their bank does not issue commercial paper, UK Finance has published a list of those banks that are able to assist.

Where the above schemes are not appropriate, HE providers are eligible for the CJRS. HE providers should only furlough employees and seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they meet the following conditions:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding
  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded
  • (where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
  • the grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not be duplicative to other public grants that the HE provider receives and would not lead to financial reserves being created

Any grant from the CJRS should not duplicate other sources of public funding where these are being maintained, such as UK home student tuition fees. 

If it is difficult to distinguish whether staff are funded through public or commercial income to meet the first 3 conditions as listed above, and some staff will be funded through multiple sources, as a guiding principle, HE providers should not seek to furlough a higher proportion of their wage bill than could reasonably be considered to have been generated through commercial income, including from non-public research grants and contracts.

 


First publshed 20 April 2020 
Last Update 20 April 2020

Find out more about Robert Kirtland

Robert Kirtland

Robert Kirtland

Robert specialises in advising charities, businesses and families. Robert particularly focuses on charities, having an in-depth understanding of the issues that they face.

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