Commenting on a new report published today (Tuesday 22nd December) by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) based on data gathered from a survey of NAHT members, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“This independent report confirms what NAHT has been saying since the summer, and provides compelling evidence of the financial impact of Covid-19 on schools. It also makes it abundantly clear that the government is expecting schools, with already fragile budgets, to pick up the tab for the majority of their Covid-related costs.
“School budgets were set before the pandemic hit and were already incredibly tight. None of the costs schools are now facing are optional. They have all been required by government – and indeed, are necessary to keep children and staff safe during this pandemic.
“The government has recently finally promised some limited financial assistance, but only for staffing costs, and only if schools have exhausted their financial reserves. It is bad business management to expect schools to hit rock bottom before they get a penny to help them with their overheads – it doesn’t allow for effective financial planning. And there is still no additional money to help schools pay for essentials like sanitiser, masks, soap and other cleaning products.
“The worry is that every pound that is diverted to pay for safety measures and the costs of just keeping schools open is a pound that can’t be spent on pupils’ education and wellbeing. Just as children really need every possible boost to make up for the disruption they’ve faced this year, they are being short-changed by the government. Government claims that they are supporting schools fully are clearly false.”
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