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Worcestershire Children First issues advice to early years providers, schools and colleges

WCF logo Published Friday, 20th March 2020

Worcestershire Children First (WCF) has today written to schools, colleges and early years settings about the effort to maintain educational provision during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools and educational settings have a key role to play, alongside other partners, in meeting the priority to preserve life, prevent spread of infection and keep critical services going.

Following advice issued by the Government, education settings are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children including children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Catherine Driscoll, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First and Director of Children’s Services for Worcestershire County Council, said:

“Worcestershire’s schools, colleges and early years settings have a key part to play to meet our priority to preserve life, prevent the spread of infection and keep critical services going.”

“We appreciate that it has been a challenging time for parents and for education leaders following the Government announcement about schools earlier this week and that everyone wants to support the key priorities.

“Now that we have received official guidance from Central Government, we have written to all schools to give them clarification and reassurance on the situation.”

“Care will be provided for vulnerable children and for the children of those workers who are critical to the response to Coronavirus. However, we have to manage the pressures that are being placed onto our education settings at this very difficult time.

“If parents are able to look after their children safely at home they should do so, even if their work is critical to the response to coronavirus.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Education and Skills, said: “This situation is unprecedented and I’d like to thank our schools and teachers for working collaboratively with us as this situation continues to develop. I’d like to also thank all of the students who have continued to work incredibly hard during this really challenging period. As a working parent myself, I totally understand the pressures that working parents are currently facing and appreciate this is a very difficult time.”

A letter has been sent by Worcestershire Children First to all headteachers today (Friday) at all of Worcestershire’s early years providers, schools and colleges giving clarification around this area.

Many parents who are working in critical areas to the response to Coronavirus will be able to keep their children at home and where children can be safely cared for at home they are urged to do so.

For those who cannot keep children safely at home and who work in one of the critical sectors listed below, their children will be made a priority for education provision when they are at work. The critical areas include:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • 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
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services