Schools to close from Friday

Schools across the UK will be closed from end of play on Friday 20 March due to coronavirus, but children of vital workforce will resume school time

After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the UK’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

Where schools are unable to look after these children, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available in the same area.

Registered early years providers, including childminders, private schools and sixth forms should also follow this guidance. The government will provide financial support for these settings as required.

Where possible, plans will also be put in place to encourage educational establishments to also look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

As of 20 March the following key workers are critical to the covid-19 response and will be prioritised for education provision and will be able to continue attending school.

Key workers list include:

·       education and childcare;

·       food and other necessary goods;

·       health and social care;

·       key public services;

·       local and national government;

·       public safety and national security;

·       transport; and

·       utilities, communication and financial services.

 

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

The scientific advice shows that these settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending – but asking others to stay away will help to slow the spread.

To lift the pressure on schools themselves and to allow them to focus on supporting those children who need it most, Ofsted will cease all inspections of schools and colleges with immediate effect.

There will be no GCSEs or A-Levles this summer or primary school assessments and no performance tables will be published.

Matt Hancock, MP, secretary of state for health and social care, said: ‘Under 20% of children going to schools are the key worker category and closure of schools is still overwhelmingly effective.

‘The strategy is to reduce the impact of the virus and increase the capacity of the NHS.

‘It’s vital that people act responsibly’.

The Key worker list

By Sara White

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