Schools to stay open for ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children only

All schools in England are to be closed to most students from Friday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

They will stay open for “key workers” and vulnerable children only.

This year’s summer exam series and SATs tests will also not go ahead, with ministers pledging to work with the exams regulator “to ensure children get the qualifications that they need”.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement in the House of Commons this afternoon.

“The spike of the virus is progressing at a faster pace than anticipated,” he said.

“After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon they will remain closed until further notice.

“This will be for all children except to those of key workers and children who are most vulnerable. The scientific advice shows that these settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending, but asking others to stay away will go towards helping us the slow the spread of this virus.

“Examples of key workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work.

“Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with an educational health and care plan.

“We are expecting early years providers, sixth forms and further education colleges to do the same.”

On free school and colleges meals, Williamson said his department will give providers the “flexibility” to continue this offer by allowing them to purchase meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops.

He noted that some schools are already doing this and committed to reimbursing those costs.


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  1. Michelle Ray

    Schools should be shut to everybody so school staff can stay home to protect themselves and their families. Staying open for children who fall into certain categories means that most of our children will still attend! How is this social distancing!!

    • Daphne Bastians

      I completely agree with your comment. I fall into the category of ‘vulnerable’ and because my partner has to continue to work as a teacher that means he can bring the virus home to me and my children.

  2. Paul Mayo

    I believe that if Schools are shutting for one then they should be shutting for all. I am a support worker that would also like to protect myself and my family from the virus but i will be one of the people expected to still attend work. Why is one persons health more important than another?

  3. patriciakingston

    I’m the mother of a teacher, I look after my2 year old granddaughter so that her mother can go to work and care for the children of others ,who decided that her health and consequently the health of her daughter and my own health is less of a value than that of others. My daughter is a lone parent will find childcare difficult if I was to fall illl as I’m over 65 and fall into “the vulnerable category”.

  4. I am very scared, for everyone. I am in the high risk category, single parent nhs key worker with no help. I am very frighted I leave my wee one with no parent. I hope I am worrying over nothing. Keep Strong.