The Department for Education COVID-19 guidance for educational settings
On Thursday 19th of March, Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education announced that from the end of Friday, the 20th schools will be closed, other than for:
- the most vulnerable children (those who have assigned social workers)
- children of key workers (including NHS staff, police and delivery drivers with more details to follow)
- children with particular health or learning needs (those with EHCPs)
Further measures include:
- schools being given provision to continue to offer meals to children who are eligible for free school meals.
- schools to be asked to remain open over the Easter holidays for those children identified above.
- cancellation of public exams this year
- cessation of Ofsted inspections and there will be no publication of performance tables.
- the Government working with exam boards, UCASA and Ofqual to make sure children are awarded qualifications.
Actions like these are unprecedented and complex further details will be provided as soon as they are announced but the press release from the Secretary of State can be read here .
Voucher scheme launches for schools providing free school meals
From Tuesday 31st March, schools which are unable to continue providing meals will be able to support children who receive free school meals with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets.
Children eligible for free school meals will benefit from a national voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals whilst they stay at home. Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme will allow schools to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.
The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S, with the Department working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.
Click hereto read more.
Full details around the closure of schools and other educational settings can be read here , this page contains the following information:
- Closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings
- Vulnerable children
- Critical workers (key workers)
- Resources and support
What jobs are regarded as critical workers (key workers)?
In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort - such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers - will be able to continue to attend school, college or childcare provider.
Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work - the full list of those included is here .
This will be a big change and a big challenge for many of our local families and Gavin has not taken this decision lightly but it has become clear that we must limit social interaction even more than we are currently doing in order to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure our NHS continues to have the capacity to treat the most unwell.
Limiting social interaction
We're all in this together and whilst this will be a big change and a big challenge for many of our local families and the Secretary of State, has not taken this decision lightly but it has become clear that we must limit social interaction even more than we have been - to save lives by ensuring our NHS continues to have the capacity to treat the most unwell.
This is a very difficult time for all of us in Watford and across our nation. The things we're being asked to do will make our lives harder. But we’re doing this for each other, and together we will get though this.
This page will be updated with further details as they arise - last updated 25th March