Schools are already working to identify the children whose parents need to keep on going out to work to support the nation's response to the coronavirus crisis.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson announced today that schools will be closed from Friday until further notice to all but vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.
A list of key workers is due to be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow. But with schools already being forced to close because of staff shortages, leaders had begun taking steps to identify the children who will need to be catered for before the announcement.
Williamson: Schools to close from Friday
Jonny Uttley, chief executive of East Yorkshire's Education Alliance multi-academy trust, said that pupils of parents who worked in the NHS were still attending schools that were partially closed in his trust.
Enormously grateful to read seven emails from NHS staff whose children have been specifically kept in our partially closed schools. This is one of our key aims now - helping the NHS. We will do this as long as we possibly can— Jonny Uttley 💙 (@JonnyUttley) March 18, 2020
Posting on Twitter he said: "[I am] enormously grateful to read seven emails from NHS staff whose children have been specifically kept in our partially closed schools.
"This is one of our key aims now – helping the NHS. We will do this as long as we possibly can."
The headteacher of a school in London said that it had asked parents to come forward if they worked in a key role and would need their children to keep attending so they could attend work.
The head, who asked not to be named said: "We are asking them to self-identify – we've put up a form on our website for them to fill in along with the dates that they want.
"Some families may have one key worker but another who is able to stay at home. We think we have enough staff to be able to manage up to 25 or 30 in our primary."
It was reported last weekend that schools may be closed to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
Geoff Barton, Association of School and College Leaders general secretary, told Tes last night that schools had been working to ensure resources were targeted where they were needed.
He said: "As part of their contingency planning, schools are identifying the children of key workers, as well as vulnerable children, so that they are able to provide them with continuity of learning and support in the event of a wider school closure.
"With significant numbers of teachers self-isolating, schools are endeavouring to ensure that available resources are targeted where the need is greatest.”
Mr Williamson said in a statement to the Commons today that the children of key workers included those whose parents are NHS workers, police officers and delivery drivers while vulnerable pupils include those who have a social worker and those with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).