Secondary schools are set to receive a £1,000 one-off payment to support their in-school Covid vaccination programme, the Department for Education has announced.
The funding will come from an £8 million pot from NHS England. Special schools and alternative provision settings are also in line for the cash.
Larger schools will get an additional uplift, and funding will be paid in April.
Details released today state schools should use the cash to “ensure they have a single point of contact to liaise” with the vaccination team and local health teams.
Schools with no further jab visits should use the funding to “pass on materials about vaccination to pupils and signpost pupils and parents to the closest vaccination sites”.
While 50 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds – more than 1.5 million youngsters – have had at least one dose of the vaccine, another one million more children are yet to have a vaccine.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said vaccines “are the best way to protect students from Covid-19”.
“Young people can get their vaccines at school, through walk-in sites across the country or their parents can book an appointment online – please do not delay,” he added.
Schools will not have to report how they spend the cash.
1,000 more air-cleaning units pledged
The DfE also announced today that it is now committing to deliver up to 9,000 air cleaning units to early years, schools and colleges across the country to improve ventilation in classrooms –1,000 more than originally promised.
A spokesperson said 1,265 education settings has made valid applications to receive an air cleaning unit since the application process opened earlier this month. The 9,000 units will “ensure every setting will receive the units they need”.
It comes after education secretary Nadhim Zahawi claimed that providing more air-cleaning units could “waste taxpayers’ money”.
The government previously committed to providing 8,000 units – 7,000 for mainstream schools and 1,000 for special and AP settings – based on “feedback” from schools using CO2 monitors.
Earlier this month Zahawi defended the allocation, telling MPs: “That’s the funnel you go through, otherwise you waste taxpayers’ money buying 300,000 air purifiers for classrooms that simply do not need them.”
Schools need to have classrooms with CO2 readings of over 1,500 parts per million and be unable to complete remedial works before the end of February to be eligible.
Zahawi said today that face-to-face education for all students “has consistently been my priority”.
“That is why I am pleased to further strengthen the tools available to schools to manage transmission of the virus, including funding air cleaning units for the small number of classrooms that need them due to poor ventilation, and providing additional NHS funding to free up staff time to engage with the vaccination programme for young people.
“My message remains the same as ever – testing, ventilation and vaccinations are our best weapons against the virus – keep testing, and get your vaccination as soon as possible.”
The DfE said secondary schools would receive an additional uplift based on pupil numbers with the £1,000 one-off payment.
Further details will be provided “shortly” on how the NHS funding for vaccination support will be distributed.