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Inspiration Trust Q&A for families

Published on 19/03/20

This Q&A will aim to answer your key questions around the government's decision to close schools for most children. We will update this regularly so it has the most up to date information for you. We hope our families find this helpful.

Are schools closing?

Yes. Schools will close for most children from Friday 20th March.

When do schools close?

Schools will close at the end of the day on Friday 20th March for most children.

Why are they closing?

The government has decided to close schools because of coronavirus.

Are schools open for some children?

Yes. The government has said schools must open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Who are key workers?

The government have published a full list of key workers. If you have any questions, please email your school's office directly.

They include people working in:

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

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.

Transport

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.

What should I do if I am listed as a key worker, but can look after my child at home?

The government have said that many parents working as key workers may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

The government has asked schools to 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.

The government have said that if your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the 'critical sectors' listed in key workers, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

If you have any questions, please email your school's office directly. You can also read the government's full guidance.

Who are vulnerable children?

Vulnerable children are those with a social worker or an Education, Health and Care plan.

Will free school meals still be available?

Please contact your individual school to discuss their plans to continue providing free school meals.

When will school reopen for everyone?

We don't know. We will wait for government to tell us when we can reopen.

Are exams cancelled?

Yes. GCSE and A level exams are cancelled, as are all primary assessments. 

Will my child get qualifications?

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled.

University representatives have confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

The aim is to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn.

The government have said students will be awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. 

There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. Read the government's full statement.

How will my child continue their education from home?

Our schools have been preparing for this. There is a 'remote learning' tab on our schools' websites and there will be more information about how they will be approaching remote learning. You can also find more information on our website.

How do I contact teachers?

Our teachers will continue working, unless they are unwell. The best way to contact them is via email or by emailing the relevant school office. Our schools have published relevant contact details on the 'remote learning' tab on their websites.

Are schools trips cancelled?

Yes, most school trips are cancelled. Please contact your school office directly - via email if possible - to discuss a particular trip.

Will my school be open over Easter?

Yes, all schools will be open during the Easter holidays for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Where can I find government advice about coronavirus?

We should all now only leave our homes for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

The government have said that these measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector - a key worker - or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

The gov.uk website is regularly updated with information and is the best place to find guidance.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS website is the best place to find advice.

They are advising people to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

There is stay at home guidance available.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Your first step is to use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. You should only call 111 if you cannot get help online. The NHS website is the best place to find advice.