20th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We now have some clarity with reference to the provision for children of key workers. Before reading the list, please be mindful of the following:
You will see that the list encompasses a large number of people. There is further guidance that also says:
Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can send their children to school if required.
We are here to support both you as parents of frontline services and your children and we need to make sure that we are acting appropriately in this time. Please refer to a section of the government guidance that appears before the key worker list:
As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.
The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. 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 has asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It also goes on to say, under the key principles of the guidance, before any mention of key workers:
If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
The exact criteria are below:
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms-length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
Free School Meals Provision:
At the current time the government has asked schools and Headteachers to decide what is right for their communities
Yesterday the government published guidance for schools giving them the flexibility to provide meals or shop vouchers.This follows the Education Secretary’s announcement on Wednesday that schools will close from Monday until further notice, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
The Government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each child per week will be higher than the rate it pays to schools for free school meals, as families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore have higher costs.
Therefore, our plan for next week will be as follows:
If your child is in school next week because they are the child of a keyworker, or are in the vulnerable groups detailed by the government AND they are in receipt of Free School Meals, the school will have a lunch and breakfast services run by our Catering staff. Please remember if you are requesting provision for your child you must have completed the of following link: https://www.cognitoforms.com/KingHenrySchool/RequestForStudentSupervision
All families with children eligible for Free School Meals will also be sent a supermarket voucher for £20 per child per week. To find out if you are eligible for Free School Meals you can go to: https://www.cloudforedu.org.uk/ofsm/link2ict
As a school community we will remain open for the children who need it while we can, but I implore you to think very carefully whether this is essential for you. I also need to make sure that my staff are well protected as key workers themselves, all of whom have families and many of whom have children of their own.
Now is a time to be selfless. Now is a time that we need to think what is in the best interests of the whole society and community and not just ourselves. The social distancing model is even more necessary now. We MUST follow this guidance if we are to support what is now an international effort to slow the spread of the virus.
We are here to support you and ask for your continued support through what will be a changing landscape. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful comments you have recently made to our team - it means a great deal at this time, more than ever.
Mr Desmond Deehan