Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government’s announcement that the Covid-19 workforce fund will be extended until 8 April.
“We welcome the government’s announcement that the Covid-19 workforce fund will be extended until the start of the Easter holiday. The support this fund gives to schools is badly needed to help them to plug the gaps in budgets left by the extraordinary expenses run up during the pandemic.
“However, the bar for eligibility to the fund is set far too high and requires schools to have below a certain level of reserves in order to qualify for support. That means the funding on offer is out of reach for many schools and it has always been our view that it should be made available as widely as possible and without so many caveats.
“The pressure on budgets for many schools has ramped up in recent months as a direct result of having to bring in many supply staff to cover for the high levels of staff absence they have experienced and, in many cases, continue to experience because of Covid.
“The government should be providing more support to schools with these costs in such extraordinary circumstances rather than putting obstacles in their way. The support the Covid workforce fund offers is vital and should come without so many strings attached.”