As you are no doubt aware, all schools will be closed from Friday 20 March. This includes registered childcare providers (including nurseries and childminders), primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. This is for both state-funded and independent schools.
The government are asking schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.
Is your child a vulnerable child?
The current guidance states that vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. We will work with schools, early years, FE providers and local authorities to help identify the children who most need support at this time.
Who is a critical worker?
The current guidance states that a critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work.
In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort – such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers – will also continue to attend school, college or childcare provider.
A full list of critical workers and further information is available.
What about kinship carers who do not fit into these groups?
The government has stated that ‘We know that schools will also want to look to support other children who are vulnerable where they are able to do so.’ Therefore, if you do not fit into any of these categories, we would suggest you contact the school and explain if your situation makes you and your family vulnerable and ask if it would be possible for your children to continue going to school if this would help you.
Where to get up to date information?
Information is changing frequently and so please look out for changes in the situation. You can find information on the government website.
Free school meals and lunch when children are not attending school because of closures due to Coronavirus
With the closure of schools some of you may be worried about the extra costs related to lunch for your children where they might usually get free school meals.
To address this, provision has been put in place giving schools and colleges the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. A national national voucher system will be put in place.
Please contact your children’s school about how to get this help. More information on support for pupils eligible for school meals is available.