We are aware of many schools and their staff supporting those arriving in the UK from Ukraine, including considering offering educational places to children and housing under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Phase 1 is for people who have a named Ukrainian they wish to sponsor. Phase 1 opened on 18 March.
People or organisations wanting to be sponsors who do not know anyone personally fleeing Ukraine can register their interest in being a sponsor. So far over 200,000 people have done so.
A sponsor is asked to offer accommodation which is a spare room or self-contained accommodation for at least six months' rent free.
The Government is offering to give a 'thank you' payment of one flat rate of £350 per month for one or more Ukrainian nationals for up to 12 months.
It is likely that the Local Authority will have a role in matching Ukrainian nationals with accommodation and they will have carried out safeguarding checks where appropriate.
The Ukrainian nationals will have been granted a three year visa which allows them to remain in the UK, attend school, work and claim benefits. The £350 payment is not designed to cover food and living expenses although the Government website states that the host may choose to do so.
Where accommodation is offered in private property this is unlikely to be a concern for schools, although consideration may given to supporting host families and how to address requests for time off, as well as ensuring that school aged children are accessing education.
What About School Accommodation?
Where there is school accommodation involved, there will be a number of additional considerations.
This will depend on the nature of the occupancy (whether they are occupying under a Licence, Service Occupancy Agreement or Assured Shorthold Tenancy) and whether it is on the school site.
However, consideration should be given to the following:
Does the current documentation allow sharing of the accommodation by a lodger and if not is the school or charity prepared to provide consent?
Is the property mortgaged? If so, you may wish to speak to the bank.
Is the accommodation fit for purpose and suitable for the number of people being housed?
Does the individual sponsoring the Ukrainian National have enough time/resources to assist with any potential mental health issues (support for PTSD for instance).
Has the school or individual considered any language issues including any lodger agreement or consent required?
Enhanced DBS checks may need to be carried out and there is a question as to how satisfactory checks for VISAs will be given checks can't be carried out with the Ukrainian Government and are there any safeguarding considerations?
Does the insurance policy in place need to be checked and does the insurer need to be informed?
Risk monitoring should be undertaken - for example using a standard form to gather set information, and then perhaps drop in visits, (perhaps weekly at first, then dropping in frequency). It is likely that school will want to know numbers and identity of guests accommodated, their physical and mental health and wellbeing, difficulties for the guests (eg. language, employment), any safeguarding concerns, as well as anything the host is finding difficult.
What should happen if the employee ceases to be employed by the school, or vacates the accommodation.
We are happy to assist with discussing any of the issues raised or any issues arising from staff accommodation.
For more advice regarding staff accomodation, please speak to Sarah Outram in our Schools team on 07468 698967, or complete the form below.