Coronavirus Information 18th December 2020

18th December 2020

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Financial support available for education, childcare and children’s social care organisations

We have updated the early years section of the financial support available for education, childcare and children’s social care organisations guidance, to reflect the interaction between the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and 2021 spring term funding.

We have also updated the use of free early education entitlements funding during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance. This guidance has been updated to set out the government’s plans for funding local authorities and childcare providers in the 2021 spring term. Section 2 of the guidance has been updated to clarify that it refers to the period before the start of the 2021 spring term and that it is previously published guidance on early years funding, which remains valid until 31 December.

Responsibility for Autumn exams

On 1 December we updated the guidance on responsibility for autumn exams to include information about the support available for functional skills qualifications (FSQs). The guidance provides information on the responsibilities of schools, colleges and apprenticeship providers that offer FSQ exams, which FSQs are in scope, funding eligibility and booking alternative sites or invigilators.

The bookings service is available for FSQ exams until 31 December 2020.

COVID-19 Workforce fund

The department has now published guidance setting out the eligibility criteria and claims process for the COVID-19 Workforce Fund, announced on 27 November. Guidance is available for schools and colleges. The fund helps schools and colleges with high staff absences and significant financial pressures to meet the cost of absences experienced during the period from 1 November to 31 December 2020.

Claiming exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) – 22 December deadline for claims

The second window to claim exceptional costs is now open. Our guidance on claiming exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) provides instructions on how to claim exceptional costs that were not claimed during the first window which closed on 21 July 2020.

Claims for exceptional costs incurred between March and the end of the summer term can be made through the online form.

The deadline to submit a claim during the second claims window is 22 December 2020. This will be the final opportunity to submit a claim. There will be no opportunity to request extensions to this claims window or to resubmit a claim after that date.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – holiday hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) will be available over the holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. These helplines will close on the bank holidays and have shortened opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

24 December – 8am to 4pm
25 to 28 December – Closed
29 to 30 December – 8am to 6pm
31 December – 9am to 4pm
1 January – Closed
2 to 3 January – 10am to 6pm

Until 24 December, the helpline opening hours are:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.

Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.

Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below: