As with any economic crisis there are winners and losers, some companies have not just survived but profited from Coronavirus, some furloughed staff have taken on new roles and will have enjoyed two salaries per month and some schools will have persevered with Edenred, not had any staff members needing to shield and maybe even have chosen not to open.
So now the claims process is available and all school business professionals must follow the professions moral compass and ensure that claims are ethical and do not result in profiteering for individual schools, we must always remember that we are always using public funds.
So whilst it is natural to always consider the extra expenses or loss in income first in a crisis, you must also consider the savings made, ie reduced spend on resources, photocopying, supply staffing costs, services, school trips (remission of fees payments not used), savings from furloughed staff, to name just a few.
The claims process seems to suggest that expenditure on school meals outside of the Edenred scheme and any cleaning costs associated with a Coronavirus case or suspected case will be reimbursed. With the support of my Headteacher, we made the decision to stay with Wonde for FSM vouchers because the system was working well for parents, and for my own well-being, I was not keen to get up in the middle of the night to process a claim on Edenred, especially given the level of negative publicity with this system. So, I have my fingers crossed that this part of my claim will be successful.
Then there is the ‘other’ box on the claim form, where amounts claimed will require validation, so this is where you need to be careful and ensure you can demonstrate a balance between expenses and savings realised, any claims put into the ‘other’ box must reflect a net figure.
I have maintained a spreadsheet and kept copies of all invoices and paperwork for all the extra costs incurred which are not a normal part of the school’s summer term expenses, I also compared normal spending levels from the Summer Term 2019 to the same period in 2020, this helped me to calculate any savings made. This net balance was deducted from the other expenses occurred which provided a realistic non-profit figure for the claim form.
I have not included all the cover for my staff absences but just for those staff instructed to shield. Some vulnerable staff have been asked to stay away because I cannot guarantee a safe 2m distance across the school, some staff are on unauthorised unpaid parental leave because they did not feel it was safe for them to return (another area of savings!)
Whatever you decide to claim for, simply ensure that you can back-up your claim with evidence of your expenditure and be able to demonstrate that you have not made any profit from your claim.