The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children:
- who are supported by social care;
- with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans;
- on child protection plans;
- ‘looked after’ children;
- young carers;
- disabled children; and
- with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
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.
If one parent is a key worker, the other parent is to safely care for their child at home. The only exception is if both parents are key workers. Single parents who are key workers will be entitled to a school place during this period.
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 sector
- Education and childcare sector
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Transport sector
- Utilities, communication and financial services sector
For further clarification on key workers, please see the latest government guidance Please also note that if you are a key worker, sending your child to school is not compulsory. If you do not wish for your child to attend school despite the criteria above, and you have alternative childcare arrangements that will not restrict you from doing your important role in combating coronavirus, then please do not accept your place offer. This will free the space up for somebody else.
The education provision will be a full time offer and those children prioritised for education will be expected to attend every day between 8.25am-3.00pm. In order to safeguard these children, if a parent has registered their child, parents must follow the normal absence reporting procedures in the event their child cannot attend school.
It is essential that we know which children will be coming into school on Monday. If you are one of the Key Workers listed above or if your child is vulnerable, please register your child for school using the link below. Registration should take no longer than a couple of minutes. It is important that one form is completed per child.
Please accept my apologies if you have already completed our previous survey – it is important that you resubmit your details using the link below following the latest guidance from the government. Please only submit a response if you intend to take up the educational provision for your child. Please submit a response by Sunday 22nd March at 1.00pm.
Thank you for your cooperation at this difficult time.
Mr Stuart Reeves, Head Teacher