To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential adequacy of the support available to vulnerable children in the event that schools close as a result of covid-19.
Supporting vulnerable children is a priority at this time. That is why, on Wednesday 18 March, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education announced that schools will remain open for vulnerable children alongside the children of critical workers. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care plans. Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining provision for vulnerable children can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.
We recognise that local authorities and other safeguarding partners are under increased pressure during this period. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are considering all options to ensure that they are able to continue to keep children safe throughout this period. This includes HM Treasury creating an emergency response fund, initially set at £5 billion, to fund pressures in the NHS, support local authorities to manage pressures on social care and support vulnerable people, and help deal with pressures on other public services.
Special and special residential schools and colleges should be supported to remain open, wherever that is possible, to provide vital services and support to children with complex needs and their families.