Covid-19 catch up funding

All Schools
What needs to be published

If your school gets the coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium grant in academic year 2020 to 2021, you should publish details of:

  • how it is intended that the grant will be spent
  • how the effect of this expenditure on the educational attainment of those pupils at the school will be assessed

As with all government funding, school leaders must be able to account for how this money is being used to achieve our central goal of schools getting back on track and teaching a normal curriculum as quickly as possible. Given their role in ensuring schools spend funding appropriately and in holding schools to account for educational performance, governors and trustees should scrutinise schools’ approaches to catch-up from September, including their plans for and use of catch-up funding. This should include consideration of whether schools are spending this funding in line with their catch-up priorities and ensuring appropriate transparency for parents.

The guidance on full opening sets out that Ofsted will conduct a programme of non-graded visits to some schools during the autumn. During these visits, inspectors will discuss how the school is bringing pupils back into full-time education – this may include plans schools have to spend their catch-up funding.

Ofsted plans to resume routine inspections in January 2021, with the exact timing being kept under review. When routine inspections restart, Ofsted will make judgements about the quality of education being provided, and that will include how leaders are using their funding (including catch-up funding) to ensure the curriculum has a positive impact on all pupils.

Oxfordshire County Council Governor Services are working on the premise that this new catch-up funding falls within the remit of the board in the same way as other additional funding (such as the Pupil Premium grant), so governors need to assure themselves that appropriate plans are in place for spending the premium, aligned to the needs of the pupils, then monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the spend. 


Naturally the senior leaders are best placed to identify how the funding will be best allocated within their setting(s), based on an assessment of where the gaps are and the most efficient/effective way of closing those gaps within their community.  This plan would then be presented to the governors.  As with everything plans are likely to look quite different from school to school, however, the plan must demonstrate:


  • how it is intended that the grant will be spent
  • how the effect of this expenditure on the educational attainment of those pupils at the school will be assessed




Governors may wish to be asking questions along the lines of:


  • What information is easily available to show impact? e.g. attendance monitoring – do attendance levels reflect the effectiveness of the deployment of the catch-up premium i.e. are pupils feeling supported in their education and able to access the curriculum?
  • Remote learning – quantative and qualitative data – who has/ has not taken part in remote learning since September 2020? What levels of engagement were seen? What impact has this had? How successful was communication around this?
  • Behaviour – what do records tell you? What do pupils and parents say? How is this different from the behaviour patterns of the last few years? Are the policies effective and promoting good behaviour and behaviour for learning?
  • The Education and Endowment Foundation recommend a tiered approach to Pupil Premium (PP) spending with the top priority being quality of teaching. Is this the case with catch-up money? If not, why not? How is the money split?  Does this match the successful use of the PP fund in your school?
  • Has school used research-based evidence to support decisions?  Use of the Education Endowment Foundation resource is cited in the guidance.
  • What are we doing to ensure teachers are supported to teach effectively? Is CPD effective? How do you know?
  • Has CPD been applied comprehensively? Were there any staff members who were disenfranchised due to COVID? Has this been reviewed and compensated for?
  • Has CPD had a focus around the emotional health and wellbeing of both staff and pupils?
  • Are our implementation priorities still the right ones and can we sustain them?
  • Have there been new challenges and how have we responded? Have these been identified in our school improvement plans (if necessary)?
  • How are you identifying pupils for targeted academic support (TAS)? Is this equitable? How do you know? Is this the same for SEND pupils, boys, pupils who are summer born? How many pupils have been supported with TAS and how many in wider strategies?
  • Pupil conferencing? Staff surveys? School tracking data? CPD attended and cascaded? Curriculum impact reports? Wellbeing questionnaires? Parent voice?