Closure of schools today and list of key workers – Friday 20 March 2020

Closure of schools and list of key workers
Clearly the situation regarding COVID-19 has changed considerably since this time last week.  Schools will close their doors this afternoon to the majority of children until further notice. Only children of key workers – those considered critical to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – and vulnerable pupils will attend schools for the foreseeable future.

In guidance published late yesterday evening, the Cabinet Office and DfE published a list of roles that are considered to be those of key workers, and these are listed below as published.

The Government has also clarified that vulnerable children include those who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care plans.

The Government has said that “many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home”, and that “every child who can be safely cared for at home should be”.

It has also been confirmed, in separate guidance for parents, that children will be eligible to attend school even if just one parent or carer is identified as a “critical worker”.

List of key workers

  • Health and social care – 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.
  • Transport – 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.

Governance during this time
As you are aware I have been emailing you all the latest NGA guidance as it has been published.  During these uncertain times school governance should continue albeit virtually/electronically. I am liaising with Headteachers and Chairs to agree how we will conduct our business going forwards.  I will be in touch via email to share our plans in due course.

In the meantime I will continue to send you the latest Government and NGA guidance to keep you updated.