Dehenna Davison MP has today [10th December] called on the Government to provide more support for schools to cover additional COVID costs.
Today in the House of Commons Dehenna Davison MP has asked for comments of Headteachers to be fed back to the Education Secretary, following a virtual discussion with local schools to discuss the impacts of the COVID outbreak on their finances, as well as the wellbeing of students and staff.
Speaking in Business Questions, the weekly session where the Leader of the House sets the Parliamentary calendar for the following week, the Bishop Auckland MP asked the Leader of the House if he would ask the Education Secretary to look into changing the requirements schools have to meet to access financial support to cover Coronavirus costs. In her question, Davison raised the financial difficulties some schools are facing due to the increase in supply teacher and additional cleaning costs. She went on to say:
“One of the key concerns is that schools who have worked incredibly hard to balance their budgets, and make it work, cannot access any extraordinary funding that those who perhaps haven’t been as prudent with their finances can access.”
Maura Regan, CEO at Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust and Trustee at Schools North East, who took part in the Zoom call said:
"It was really great to speak with Dehenna Davison MP this week and discuss the challenges our school leaders are facing, particularly around finance. Schools must spend a significant amount of their reserves to qualify for additional support, which means that MATs and schools that have exercised good stewardship of their finances are now being penalised, this will have a detrimental impact on students' experience in the long-term.
“It is incredibly important that the Government work in consultation with those at the chalkface. This is a key recommendation of Schools North East's Manifesto for North East Education and we are pleased to see MPs engaging so positively. We are delighted that Dehenna has already fed back concerns of North East schools into the Government and we look forward to hearing their response."
Since March the Government have delivered a range of financial support for schools including the ability to claim up to £75,000 for additional unavoidable COIVD costs, which is part of a £1.4 billion package to support schools. Along side this the Chancellor has announced increase in school funding by £2.2 billion as a part of the Autumn Spending Review and a transformative school rebuilding programme set to being in 2021.
Commenting Dehenna Davison said:
“It was really beneficial to speak with these local heads and leaders from Multi Academy Trusts this week. Often regarded as forgotten heroes of the coronavirus pandemic, teachers have been working incredibly hard to keep schools running and students in classrooms. After all, educating our young people is one of the most important jobs.
“I was pleased to be able to raise the issues we discussed straight into Government during business questions and hope to receive a response from the Minister shortly.”