Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th January 2021.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue additional guidance for schools on what constitutes a key or critical worker entitling a child to a school place.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of guidance provided to schools on the attendance of children of keyworkers.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that clear guidance is available to schools experiencing high demand for places for key worker children during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

During the period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance that sets out what all schools will need to do during the national lockdown: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf. Guidance is also available on the children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If parents and carers who are critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so.

Every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.

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