Government announces school closures from Friday - 20 March 2020 update
31 March 2020 update
During the current closures, schools are being asked to make sure eligible pupils have continued access to free school meals where the pupil is not attending school. Eligible pupils are those eligible for benefits-related free school meals.
The Department for Education (DfE) announced a national voucher scheme to support schools with this process. It says that where schools aren't able to provide eligible pupils with meals or food parcels through their current food provider, they can provide eligible families with supermarket vouchers in term time weeks. Schools will receive an email from DfE’s supplier Edenred regarding how to access and administer the voucher scheme locally.
If schools decide to use the scheme they will purchase and send an eCode directly to the parents or carers of eligible pupils. Parents will receive instructions on how to use this eCode to buy an eGift card from their choice of a number of supermarkets.
If parents don't have access to the internet, schools will arrange to print and post a gift card. Some schools who have established processes to deliver free school meals via local sandwich companies or their own caterers may continue to do this.
GOV.UK has more information on COVID-19: free school meals guidance for schools.
20 March 2020 update
The Department for Education have released the list of key workers.
Each school will be receiving a form for parents to fill in if they believe they meet the criteria. Your school will then advise on the provision they will be offering.
19 March 2020 update
Following yesterday’s announcement on UK school closures, please see below further information for parents and carers of children with SEND who have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).
- If your child has an EHCP they will have a place to attend school. However, it is not mandatory to take up that place, and you will not be fined should you decide to keep your child/ren at home. You will need to let your school know what you decide.
- It is highly unlikely that schools will be able to provide the same level of provision that is in your current EHCP.
- Schools that remain open for children with EHCPs will not be open normal times and will not be operating in the same way. Your school will provide you with details of what their plans look like as and when they have worked this out.
- There is likely to be a delay in the timescales for requests for assessment and EHCPs.
Local arrangements may take a few days to introduce and may be affected at any time by staff absence due to illness. Please ensure you are in contact with your school who can provide details on their plans.
The government also confirmed earlier in the week that funding for early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend due to coronavirus.
Original announcement on Wednesday 18 March
Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson has announced the closure of all UK schools from this Friday.
We understand that this announcement must leave you with lots of questions and worries. Please feel reassured that we are working hard to make sure those affected will be supported.
We are working on providing further information to parents which will be available on this webpage in the coming days.