I am sure all of you have been following updates on COVID-19 and the grave impact it is currently having across the world. Whilst more and more countries take action to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the efforts of many governments and authorities as well as healthcare staff worldwide to fight this pandemic deserves the greatest respect. This respect also extends to critical workers including schools and academies staff.
Here at SAAF we are seeing school support staff levels becoming more and more stretched due to sickness and the requirements around self-isolation, yet statutory financial and payroll responsibilities still have to be met irrespective of the circumstances we are finding ourselves in.
The forced closure of schools and academies has inevitably led to schools incurring costs that were not initially budgeted for; such as teachers preparing “home-learning packs” for pupils, the use of more online education platforms which can be accessed by learners remotely and supporting parents with lunches where pupils are eligible for free school meals. There has also been an expectation placed on schools to perform deep cleansing during the closure.
The above efforts are seeing schools incur a similar pattern of expenditure with some of the costs having been accrued before the government decision to close schools was taken. The financial impact on individual schools due to COVID-19 and the subsequent closure is not yet fully known but the DfE has requested that schools keep a record of all expenditure relating to COVID-19 in order to make a future claim and identify expenditure for local audit arrangements when reporting financial accounts.
During this prolonged lock-down period we at SAAF have pulled together a top 10 list of things to do to ensure working from home is as stress free as possible: