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Ministers unveil list of 'key workers' whose children can attend school during coronavirus pandemic

Ministers unveil list of 'key workers' whose children can attend school during coronavirus pandemic

Schools across the UK will be shut to the majority of pupils from the final bell on Friday

3 min read

Ministers have unveiled the list of 'key workers' whose children can still go to school during the coronavirus outbreak.

Frontline health care staff, delivery drivers and the police are among the list of workers deemed "essential" to the coronavirus response.

Other professions include civil servants, journalists and those in the transport industry.

Every school in the UK will be closed indefinitely after today as part of efforts to tackle the outbreak.

Meanwhile, all A-level and GCSE exams have been cancelled, meaning pupils may have to rely on predicted grades for their end-of-year results.

But schools will be asked to continue to remain open with a "skeleton staff" to provide care for those included on the newly-published key workers list, as well as for vulnerable children.

The government say this group will include families who have been appointed a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care plans, which set out a children's special needs and the kinds of extra support they require.

The Department of Education said: "If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your children will be prioritised for education provision."

Speaking ahead of the publication of the extensive list, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he expected around 10% of pupils to still be attending school.

He told the BBC's Radio 4 programme: "In terms of the number of key workers, but also vulnerable children, some of those children who are most at risk, we’d be looking at up to 10% of a roll of a school being eligible in order to do this [stay open] and the best scientific advice has been that that has a good effect in terms of reducing a pandemic and these are safe environments for children to be there."

The list has been split into eight categories:

Health and social care

Frontline health and social care staff including doctors, nurses, paramedics, as well as social workers and care workers. Those working in the production of medical and personnel equipment will also be included, as will those involved in the supply chains of those goods.

Education and childcare
Nursery and teaching staff, as well as social workers and specialist education professionals working with vulnerable children or children with special needs

Key public services

This includes those needed to run courts and the justice system, religious staff, and people responsible for managing the deceased.

This also includes journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

Administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or those delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods

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

Police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel are all included. As well as fire and rescue service employees and their support staff. National Crime Agency staff, and those responsible for border security, prisons and probation are also included.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response.

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff needed for essential financial services provision, including workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure.

Those working in 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, postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

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