This page will be updated when appropriate. Last updated 6 April.
The Government has published guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision here. I have summarised this information below.
Schools are now closed except for children of key workers and vulnerable children. Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care. The closures will also apply to early years providers, further education providers, sixth form providers and private schools.
Vulnerable children include those who are supported by social care and 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.
Key workers include those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response or who work in one of the following critical sectors:
- Health and social care
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial services
A full list of which workers are considered critical can be found here.
The Government has asked that key workers adhere to the following 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.
Workers who think they fall within the critical categories should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of an essential public service.
Workers whose child’s school is closed should contact Leicestershire County Council who will seek to redirect them to another local school in the area. The Council’s contact details can be found here.
Where possible, the Government will be encouraging educational settings to also look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.
The Government has published more information on early years and childcare closures here.
Guidance for schools on how to implement social distancing to ensure that the risk of virus spread for both staff and children is as low as possible can be found here.
Alongside school closures, the Government has announced the following measures:
- Schools have been given provision to continue to offer meals to children who are eligible for free school meals. The Government has published guidance on this here.
- Public examinations have been cancelled this year. More information about the measures which have been put in place to ensure children get the qualifications they need and deserve can be found here.
- Ofsted inspections will temporarily cease and there will be no publication of performance tables.
- Nurseries will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April. More information about this can be found here. The Department for Education will also continue to fully fund the free childcare entitlements.