Key Workers Letter

Dear Parents and Carers,

Information was released last night to clarify ‘Advice for Schools around Supporting Vulnerable Children and Children of Key Workers.‘ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers. Please read if you feel you come under this category.

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-isolationhousehold isolation and social distancing.

And 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 asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools are, therefore, 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.

Many parents working in the key worker sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. 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.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Do I qualify?

Stage 1 – Parents qualify if they have 1 key worker as a parent from specified list)

Stage 2 – can your child be looked after safely at home by the other parent/spouse

If yes, then your child should be at home in social distancing.

If no, continue to stage 3.

Stage 3 – could the partner/spouse not going to work cause a loss of earnings (this would be judged as exceptional circumstances that would put your family at risk).

If yes, then you qualify for childcare and we will do our best to place you in a setting.

If no, then your child should be at home looked after by the partner/spouse in social distancing.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed in the attached guidance for schools, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

Please see the attached document ‘Guidance for schools’ for the list of key workers https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. If parents think they fall within the critical categories list 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.

We will be working with St Michael’s Nursery, Juniper Hall and St Martin’s (if we are unable to staff it) to put a plan together to ensure we can care for your child where necessary.

I hope you understand as we are a small village school with small staff numbers and with many of our staff now in self-isolation themselves this is a difficult time. The guidance is clear that children should be at home where possible however if you are not able to cover the childcare with a non-front line working parent/carer we will endeavour to do our best to place your child in a setting.

Having read the guidance if you think you will need childcare, please could you email Mrs Piggott on info@stmichaels-dorking.surrey.sch.uk by 1pm today and we will contact you. Please specify your requirements eg: full days, half days and which days of the week you will need. Care will be available from 9am-3pm.

Thank you and apologies for the long email, there’s a lot of information to share.

Kind regards

Sandra Peers
Head of School