The Government has instructed that, after this week, it is asking schools to open to provide care for children of key workers and vulnerable children – schools are being asked to help as part of a national response.
This is a very different type of provision than schools usually provide; for these pupils, it will be about care, not education. This is about keeping children safe and allowing key workers to go to work and care for the sick, or to keep food supply chains moving. All expectations regarding educational provision have been lifted. Schools that provide this care will be free to determine what the provision looks like and what they deem to be best for the pupils they are supporting.
It remains the case that if a school does not have enough staff to care for pupils safely (even based on the new ‘reduced provision’ approach) then, subject to a risk assessment and consultation with the chair of governors, a full or partial closure may be necessary. We will need to keep this decision under daily review.
The highest priority will be for families where both parents are keyworkers or where a sole parent is a key worker. The school setting is the final option for care, not the first.
Health and social care
Frontline health and social care staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector. In addition it includes those working in supply chains including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
Nursery, teaching staff and social workers.
Key public services
Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, as well as those responsible for managing the deceased, and journalists providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
Administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response or delivering essential public services, including payment of benefits.
Food Production & Distribution
Those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.
Public safety and national security
Police, Ministry of Defence, armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, and those responsible for border security, prisons and probation.
Those who will keep air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.
Utilities, communication and financial services
Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running. Staff in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and those working to provide essential financial services.
Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home and it’s critical for every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response and one of the critical sectors listed above, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for school-setting provision.
Please remember, the school setting is the final option for care, not the first.
These actions are to protect and safeguard everyone, socially distancing ourselves from the harmful virus and a means to reduce its spread. It’s vital we comply with these instructions given to us by the Prime Minster for the safety and protection of everyone.
Please contact us as soon as possible if you think this applies to you and intend to send your child to school so that we can plan to staff this provision for Monday. Please give us as much notice as possible in order for us to do this as the size of the task is significant in such unprecedented conditions. Please note, we will be unable to staff this skeleton service for any parents not in the specific groups as identified by the Government. In addition, if we do not hear from you, we will assume you may not require this service and will plan accordingly.
I would be grateful if you would continue to keep up to date with the Public Health England guidance on Coronavirus via the website below, which is currently being updated daily:
As usual, I will keep you updated on developments via our website, ParentMail & Twitter: I will also ensure that our social media channels are updated accordingly.
I will stay in touch with you as I have promised until such time as I also self-isolate. In the meantime, stay safe, stay in touch and go well.