Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response
Firstly, thank you for your patience. This is an uncertain time for everyone and we appreciate the school community pulling together whilst awaiting news from central and local government. I am pleased to be able to confirm that guidance was published in the early hours of the morning in relation to vulnerable children and ‘key workers’.
We are compiling a list of pupils in line with the vulnerable children category and will be individually contacting their parents/carers today. Please note that the definition of which pupils are classed as vulnerable is clearly defined and we are not able to add pupils into this category if requested by parents/carers.
The published guidance in relation to educational provision for the children of ‘key workers’ follows. I would be grateful if you could read this carefully to ensure we can accurately determine which pupils are to receive education and care over the closure period:
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
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.
If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.
In relation to the final statement of this section of the guidance, I would ask that key workers refrain from contacting the local authority at this stage as the school is working to coordinate arrangements on your behalf. Due to the unprecedented nature of this situation, final arrangements for continuing education for specified pupils has yet to be finalised by the local authority. This will be communicated to relevant parents/carers as soon as possible.
In the first instance, if you believe that you fall into the category of a key worker and that they are unable to be cared for at home across the closure period at this stage, please email the school office by 11:30am if possible so that we may compile a comprehensive list to send to the local authority by their specified deadline of firstname.lastname@example.org I politely request that parents/carers do not telephone the school to provide this information unless absolutely necessary in order to allow staff to focus on the task at hand.