Further Clarification for Parents who are Critical (Key) Workers: COVID-19

Dear Parents


Further Clarification for Parents who are Critical (Key) Workers: COVID-19


Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education has posted a message on Twitter asking that you ensure that you keep your child at home if you can.  This includes children of critical workers if at all possible.


At St James, we would encourage you to follow this advice, even if you have previously contacted us to arrange critical worker childcare. If you are still unable to arrange childcare, we would request that you provide proof of critical worker occupation from your employer. Please bring this into school the next time that your child attends.


The following are possible questions that you may still have.  Our responses are also below:


Am I counted as a critical (key) worker?

Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers who need to be able to go out to work.  We have previously circulated information regarding who is included on the critical worker list (see link): critical worker list.  Children with a parent / carer who is listed have been considered for a school place.


If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.


If only one parent or carer is a critical worker, can I send my children in to school?

The government’s guidance states that children with at least one parent or carer who is critical to the COVID-19 response can attend school if required. However, the government has stated that many families with a parent or carer working in critical sectors will be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.  If we find it increasingly difficult to provide safe staffing ratios we will have to prioritise places to those families where both carers are critical workers.


I am a critical worker. Do I have to send my child to school?

There is no requirement for parents and carers who are critical workers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.  The government has stated that many parents who are critical workers may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. If your child can be cared for safely, your child should stay at home. 


I am a critical worker. Can you guarantee that my child will attend their usual school?

The government has acknowledged that it will be impossible for some schools to remain open, particularly small rural schools.  Whilst there is no guarantee that our school will remain open, we will do all that we can to ensure this happens


I am a critical worker - how will my child get to school if the only school open is not nearby?

We are awaiting further information from the local authority regarding the provision of transport.   


Will the school be open over Easter holidays for childcare?

The government is encouraging schools to continue to look after critical workers’ children throughout the Easter holidays.  However, it has acknowledged that this will be impossible for some schools, such as small schools.  We are presently assessing arrangements for the holiday period and will circulate more information in due course.  If we are unable to offer childcare through the holiday period, we will work with other schools and neighbouring providers to find an alternative setting for your child.