General 149: Claims for Exceptional COVID-19 Costs

On 24 June, the Department for Education (DfE) updated their guidance on funding for exceptional coronavirus costs for schools. The update clarified that costs associated with wider opening cannot be claimed through this fund, and need to be covered through schools’ existing resources. This includes the cost of additional routine cleaning. The wording of the reserves section has been updated, but the meaning does not appear to have changed: if a school had reserves and expects to add to these reserves in the financial year, they will not be able to claim.

In addition, the claim form and process was published:

Please note that schools are expected to submit their own claims.

  • This sets a deadline of 21 July 2020 for schools to claim, but explains that there will be another claims window in the autumn (with further details to follow). There will be no extensions to this deadline.
  • Local authorities cannot submit claims themselves.
  • Claims can only be made for actual costs incurred to date (the form explains that future costs will be claimable in the second window in the autumn). Claims can be edited up to the deadline, by logging back into the system.
  • The claim form and process provides full details of the information to be provided on the form, and notes that the online system will time-out after 45-60 minutes, so it may be sensible to ensure all the relevant information is ‘to hand’ before beginning. You may have already been coding these costs to a separate COVID-19 cost centre.

Enquiries about how to complete the online form should be directed to GrantPayments.ESFA@education.gov.uk
All other enquiries about this funding should be directed to DfE.CoronavirusHelpline@education.gov.uk

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