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Last updated on 23 April 2020
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School types: All · School phases: All

Get answers to your questions about staffing, like whether you can furlough staff and whether you can stop paying suppliers.

Which staff need to be in school?

See our advice on planning your staffing structure to help you decide who you need in, and which staff shouldn't be coming in at all.

If you're concerned you don't have enough staff, contact your local authority (LA).

Can I furlough my staff?

You shouldn't furlough staff who you employ directly with public funds - this applies to both state-funded and independent schools. 

State-funded schools 

You might need to furlough staff if you use private income (e.g. funds from premises hire) to pay their wages, and this income has stopped or been reduced.

But you should first:

  • Try to make necessary savings from your existing budget
  • See if you can redeploy these staff to other roles 

Only after this should you furlough staff and apply for a grant from the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The grant would only cover the percentage of your staff costs that you'd usually pay with your private income.

See the conditions you need to meet for the scheme here (scroll down to the section on state-funded schools).

Independent schools

You should only apply to government support schemes for staff you're employing with private income. If you receive public funding (e.g. local authority support for pupils with EHC plans), you should use this money to continue paying staff and not furlough them.

Can I stop paying staffing agencies?

If you're in a state-funded school, you may need to pay agencies that employ supply teachers and other contingent workers.

If the worker is on a live assignment: 

  • And can continue to work in school or at home: you should pay the agency as normal, in line with guidance on paying suppliers
  • But cannot work due to COVID-19 (e.g. due to sickness, self-isolation or because the school is closed): you should pay the agency 80% of what you'd normally pay them, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. The agency should pay the worker 80% of their normal salary (up to £2,500 a month). See guidance on contingent workers impacted by COVID-19 for more details

If the worker is not on a live assignment or where an assignment is due to end: 

Speak to the agency about whether you still need the worker.

If you don't need their services, you don't need to pay the agency, and the agency can apply to furlough the worker through the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. After this, the worker can't work for the agency for a minimum of 3 weeks. 

This is outlined in DfE guidance (see section on 'supply teachers and other contingent workers in state-funded schools').

What should we do about recruitment?

You should carry out the same recruitment procedure as normal, although you'll need to conduct interviews remotely. This might make it more difficult to set tasks, particularly trial lessons for teacher candidates.

Get more help with doing this in our article on how to manage recruitment remotely.

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