Council confirms details of school closures next week

20/03/2020, PR-9346

​Local authority schools and academies will be closed to most pupils from Monday (23 March), with care provision remaining accessible to children whose parents are key workers, as the district pulls together to deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

The Government has now confirmed a list of key workers whose children will still be able to attend school. These workers' jobs are considered 'critical' in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vulnerable children, including those with safeguarding and welfare needs, young carers, children who have disabilities and those with an Education, Health and Care Plan, will also still be able to attend.

However, the advice remains that if a child can be safely cared for at home, they should be, in order to help manage the spread of coronavirus and reduce the pressure on schools.

Andrew Balchin, Wakefield Council's Acting Chief Executive, said: "We are working very closely with all schools to identify how many pupils have parents or carers who are classed as key workers.

"We have had a fantastic response from our school community who have all stepped up to support vulnerable children and the needs of key workers.

"This is not an easy time for schools who continue to face the same staffing pressures as many other public services and businesses, and we are urging the parents whose children are eligible to attend school to exhaust all possibilities that could enable your child to safely stay at home, before you send them to school.

"We do understand that there are a core of children who will desperately need the consistency, stability and safety of their school environment and if this is the best option for them, then their school will be available.

"Working with our schools, we will be continuing to understand the need across the district and will be adapting as required. Our sincere thanks go to all our schools and academy partners for their tremendous support during this time."

The Government has also announced that to support children eligible for free school meals, schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops. More information will be shared once confirmed by Government. Wakefield Council is supporting schools to develop plans to get meals to the children who need them the most in the best way possible.

If at least one parent is a key worker, the child can attend school and the roles are as follows:

  • Frontline health workers such as doctors and nurses
  • Some teachers and social workers
  • Workers in key public services including those essential to the justice system, religious staff, and public service journalists
  • Local and national government workers deemed crucial to delivering essential public services
  • Workers involved in food production processing, distribution, sale and delivery
  • Public safety workers including police, armed forces personnel, firefighters, and prison staff
  • Essential air, water, road and rail transport workers
  • Utilities, communication and financial services staff, including postal workers, and waste disposal workers

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers or please contact the Department for Education's coronavirus helpline on 0800 046 8687.

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