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Academies Financial Update: Catch-Up Premium and Reporting Requirements

The DfE and ESFA have recently published two important documents advising and updating academies on the new Catch-up Premium and specific COVID-19 reporting requirements for the 2019-2020 financial statements.

Catch-up Premium

The Department for Education has now provided much more guidance on the specifics of the Catch-up Premium including:

  • Eligibility – Setting out the eligibility for the £650 million funding available with academies and free schools qualifying for the additional income
  • Amounts – The funding will total £80 per pupil covering reception to year 11 for all mainstream schools, with Special schools receiving £240 per pupil. The average primary school should therefore receive £16,000 and secondary school £80,000 of extra funding
  • Payments – Funding will be paid across 3 periods, Autumn 2020 (based on pupil data at that time), early 2021 (based on the October 2020 census) and Summer 2021. With £46.67 (£140 for Special schools) paid per pupil split between the 1st & 2nd payments and a balance of £33.33 (£100 for Special specials) in Summer 21.

The updated guidance advises that the funds should be used specifically to support those pupils to catch up on their lost teaching over the last few months and that governors/trustees should scrutinise how this income is used, as well as ensuring transparency for all parents.

Full details on the Catch-up Premium fund can be found here.

Academies Accounts Direction – Supplementary Bulletin

It’s difficult not to accept that schools have been hit hard by the impact of the Coronavirus. This impact is not just on the education of the children but on everyday school life including; financial implications, procurement changes, supporting the needs of the children of key workers right through to those requiring additional free school meals and the logistical challenges this brought.

As a result, the ESFA have produced a supplementary bulletin to sit alongside this year’s Academies Accounts Direction. The bulletin sets out the evidence required by auditors on the additional income and expenditure surrounding the Coronavirus as well as the use of the Procurement Policy Notes issued.

The bulletin also sets out the need for additional disclosure within the trustees’ report this year, to cover the impact and assessment of COVID-19, including:

  • How virus control measures impacted the trust operations, activities & achievements
  • Any implications on the trust going concern and financial uncertainties
  • How any volunteers assisted the trust to manage the change of circumstances
  • Any changes on the ability to fundraise
  • How the virus affected staff and other stakeholders, and how it will affect them in the coming year
  • The affect the virus had on operational risk and other uncertainties
  • Any impact on the defined benefit pension liability and any investments held
  • The impact on the trust reserves policy and any changes to reserves
  • How the control measures will impact the future aims and activities.

The guidance also explains how any COVID-19 funding received, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Grant or Exception Support Funding, should be shown separately within the trust financial statements.

The full bulletin can be found here.

For further information on the above please contact a member of our team.