Key workers list published: children can remain at school

Gavin Williamson, secretary of state, education

The Department for Education last night published a list of key workers whose children will still receive schooling despite the coronavirus outbreak.

From Monday 23 March schools across the UK will be expected to provide care for the children of:

  • frontline health and social care staff including the distributors of medicines and vital equipment
  • teaching staff, nursery staff and social workers
  • people working in vital public services such as justice system, death registry workers, journalists in public service broadcasting
  • government workers in local or national administrations in occupations needed to deliver the Covid-19 response and pay benefits
  • food production and processing workers including sales and delivery staff
  • transport workers operating services not shut down during the Covid-19 response
  • utilities workers including all power, water, sewerage, chemicals
  • postal workers, key telecommunications staff, bank workers

The Department for Education said: “If your work is critical to the Covid-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.”

The list had been expected to be published on Thursday but, speaking on BBC Question Time, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the list would be published overnight.

Schools have shut their gates to all today, with the new system up and running on Monday.

Children with at least one parent or carer identified as critical workers by the government could send their children to school if required, the DfE added.

Most educational establishments, where required, are expected to stay open for the children of key workers but the DfE said it recognised it may be “impossible” for small rural schools. In such cases, officials have stated, alternative settings for pupils would be found and transport provided where necessary.

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