Schools across the UK will be open today for those pupils with parents or careers classed as key workers, or for pupils who are vulnerable.
Although the announcement was a welcome relief for those parents who are key workers, the government has urged parents to keep their children at home if they can, and to only send them to school if absolutely necessary.
In updated guidance from the government, it has been stated that schools, trusts and local authorities can take a flexible approach to the vulnerable children definition depending on their local circumstances.
The guidance says, “We know that schools and trusts will have some knowledge of children they consider vulnerable who have not yet been formally recognised as such, for example, children who have been referred to children’s social care but not yet appointed a social worker. It is reasonable for schools and local authorities to take a judgement on including those pupils, although they should take care to balance this with overall numbers of pupils going to school in their local area.”
There has however been concern how eligibility for free school meals is not being classed as ‘a determining factor in assessing vulnerability’.
To help in the current situation, the government has said that schools and trusts will have the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals.
Guidance on supporting children receiving free school meals is available here.