Government guidance on maintaining educational provision published

Friday 20 March 2020

Following the ministerial announcement made by Gavin Williamson earlier this week all schools  will shut today, Friday.

Exceptions have been announced for children of key workers, vulnerable children with social workers and children with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans and the government has now published guidance on this.

In the guidance it states that schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, 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 (EHC) plans.

We are aware of widespread concern among families as many children with EHC plans have medical conditions putting them in the vulnerable group for coronavirus. Others may find changes in the usual school environment, staffing or routine difficult to cope with. Understandably parents do not want to put their children at risk by forcing them to attend school.

The guidance says that if it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be and 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.

We don’t yet know whether all schools will remain open.

We should like to reassure parents that they are the best judge of what is right for their child and will not be penalised for keeping a child at home.