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School and early years provision during Coronavirus pandemic

We are now asking parents and carers to keep their children at home, wherever possible. Schools and early years settings will remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. 

Schools and childcare providers will continue to care for children who are vulnerable, whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response ('critical workers') and who cannot be safely cared for at home.

View GOV.UK guidance for parents and carers on closure of educational settings for further information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Vulnerable children

This includes children in the following circumstances:

  • Children supported by social care
  • Children with safeguarding and welfare needs, including those with 'child in need' plans, on child protection plans and ‘looked after’ children
  • Children with education, health and care (EHC) plans
  • Young carers
  • Children with disabilities

Critical workers

Critical workers include those working in health and social care and in other sectors which are essential to provide basic public services, as defined on the GOV.UK website.

Should I send my child to school or childcare?

If you are a critical worker and a parent or carer, but still unsure about whether to send your children to school or childcare, please use the following guidance (which is in line with Government advice) to assist you in making your decision. Download the coronavirus keyworker school guidance.

If your child normally gets free school meals

Schools and early years settings are also making plans to provide food, or funding, to families whose children normally get free school meals. Please look at the current arrangements for your child's school to find out about their plans to support you.

Current arrangements

You can view current arrangements below, both for children attending school or childcare, and for those who normally get free school meals. 

WarningIf you think your child will be attending, or their school or early years setting will be supporting you with feeding your family, you will need to contact the school or setting to check their arrangements. The details are likely to change in the coming days and weeks. The school or setting will have the most up-to-date information, and should be your first point of contact.

View current school arrangements

Getting children to school

We are aiming to maintain school transport services for all children still attending school who would normally get them. For now, the transport will be with the same bus or taxi service that your child normally has. However, we expect the arrangements may change over time, as the numbers of children requiring transport will be significantly fewer than normal. Please keep in touch with your child's school for details of any changes.

Early years providers

A number of childcare providers are open, but only for children of critical workers. Please contact the provider if you think you are eligible for these services.

View early years arrangements

If you have further enquiries

If you have an enquiry, and you cannot find an answer on our Coronavirus pages, or by contacting your child's school or early years provider, you can call Council Connect on 01225 477000. We will log your query, and pass it on to the most appropriate officer who is available to respond. Please bear with us, as this is an exceptionally busy time for call handlers.