The government has extended its Covid workforce fund until February half-term – signalling that ministers expect further disruption caused by the Omicron variant well into the new year.
The fund, which supports colleges with the cost of filling staff absences, was reintroduced in November until the end of term following the emergence of the new and highly transmissible variant.
It was originally established in the second half of the autumn term last year and provides funding for supply staff and to increase hours of part-time teachers.
Latest attendance data from the Department for Education showed 1.5 per cent of FE teachers and leaders absent due to Covid-19 reasons on Decemeber 8.
Meanwhile, 1.2 per cent of teaching assistants and other staff in FE were absent due to Covid on December 8, up from 1.1 per cent on November 24.