Coronavirus: Key workers finally revealed for schools

List of key workers published overnight, giving schools just a day to work out who they are staying open for

John Roberts

Coronavirus: Schools will go into today not knowing which children they have to stay open for next week

Schools have been given just one day to work out which pupils they are staying open for from next week after the government published a list of key workers overnight.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to schools being closed after today to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

The government published a list identifying these key workers – who need to be able to keep going to work – just before midnight last night.

But the government has said that parents who work in these roles and can keep their children at home and still work should do so.

The situation gives schools a day to establish what staffing they need to look after the children of these key workers and how they will be operating.

Coronavirus key workers

The extensive list includes doctors, nurses, care workers, teachers, people responsible for the management of the deceased and journalists working for public service broadcasting.

It also includes people working in defence, security, food production and national and local government roles.  

Education secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs on Wednesday that key worker roles would include NHS staff and delivery drivers.

And health secretary Matt Hancock said last night on BBC’s Question Time that the list would also include social care staff and those working on medical equipment to help the NHS cope with the outbreak.

In updated guidance published last night, the Department for Education said: "Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work.

"In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort – such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers – will also continue to attend school, college or childcare provider."

It also says: "Parents whose work is critical to the Covid-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below.

"Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be."

Tes revealed earlier this week that schools have already been proactively identifying children who will need to keep attending school to allow their parents to work on the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis.   

The full list published by the DfE and Cabinet Office last night is below.

Health and social care

This list 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; and 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 list includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the Covid-19 response.

Key public services

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 list 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, contractors 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.


This list 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), the information technology and data infrastructure sector, 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.


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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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