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Secondary schools in England given £1,000 to support Covid vaccination programme

The UK government has also committed to delivering up to 9,000 air cleaning units to schools and colleges to improve ventilation in classrooms

Secondary schools in England will be given £1,000 to help support the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Special schools and alternative provision settings will also receive the one-off payment with an additional uplift based on pupil numbers, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

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More than 50% of 12 to 15-year-olds have now had at least one vaccine dose (Photo: Getty Images)

The £8 million in funding from NHS England will cover expenses such as a member of support staff’s time on the day that in-school vaccination is taking place, as well as time spent exchanging consent forms with parents and the NHS prior to the visit.

The funding comes as the DfE confirmed more than 50% of 12 to 15-year-olds – more than 1.5 million people – have now had at least one vaccine dose.

Nick Hulme, NHS vaccination lead for 12 to 15-year-olds, said: “The additional £8 million in investment from the NHS will aim to further support schools to roll out the vaccine.

“It is vitally important that families get their young ones protected – either in school, through an appointment booked online at a vaccine centre or at one of hundreds of walk-in sites.”

9,000 air cleaning units for schools

The UK government has also committed to delivering up to 9,000 air cleaning units to early years, schools and colleges to help improve ventilation in classrooms.

The units are being provided in response to all eligible applications submitted to the government.

A total of 1,265 education settings have already made valid applications to receive an air cleaning unit since the government launched its application process, and it is hoped this will help to keep Covid-19 transmission in schools under control.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Face-to-face education for all students has consistently been my priority, and 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.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, welcomed the news that further air-cleaning devices will be made available, particularly in light of Covid measures being removed in schools across England.

Mandatory face masks have already been scrapped in classrooms, and will no longer be required in school communal areas from Thursday (27 January).

Mr Whiteman said: “The removal of other Covid measures in schools has made good ventilation more important than ever.

“The additional payment to secondary schools to support the next stage of the vaccination programme is also welcome.

“It’s important to note that it is the medical teams that will continue to be responsible for running the vaccination programme.

“However, we learnt from the first round of vaccinations that schools do face some additional administrative burdens in supporting the medical teams and it is right that this has been acknowledged.”

Schools urged to follow latest guidance

Schools in England are being encouraged to follow the latest Covid guidance on face masks in classrooms to ensure pupils have access to face-to-face education.

Boris Johnson has urged teachers who insist masks should still be worn in lessons to follow the new rules.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said Mr Johnson believes it is vital that children “can enjoy a normal experience in the classroom” as they have been one of the hardest hit by disruption from the pandemic.

He added: “We’ve been clear that we removed the requirement for face masks to be worn in classrooms and we will remove advice for face masks to be worn in communal areas from January 27.”

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