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What does the school bell tomorrow afternoon mean?

The Prime Minister's announcement of school closures from Friday will inevitably raise a number of issues.

We need more details of the specifics of the plans (including details of who the “key workers” are and whether any documentary evidence is necessary to prove “key worker” status), but, to try to put a positive spin on this without underestimating the challenges we all face in light of #COVID-19, remember, as of information available yesterday evening:

  • For however long the “School closure” may last, it will come to an end;
  • This is not a total School closure, with some Schools remaining open (albeit with reduced staffing levels) to support children of parents who are “key workers” (such as NHS staff, police and delivery drivers), and the more vulnerable pupils; and
  • Proactive efforts have been and will continue to be made as far as operationally possible to serve the educational needs of all children regardless of the ongoing situation.

Feedback from our clients is also clear – the value of staff, parents, and children as individuals remains at the forefront of the mind of senior management in the sector. Government guidance is being continually monitored and acted upon appropriately, in light of the needs of all in the local education setting.

From the perspective of the School as an employer

We know Schools are putting in place contingency plans, responding to difficult questions from concerned staff, and always keeping up to date with Government Guidance.

To help, the team here at Ward Hadaway has compiled an FAQ sheet, which you can access here, to set out the current position on the more common queries Schools, as an employer, might encounter in these unprecedented times. This is accurate at the time of writing, but clearly this issue is developing on a day to day basis.

Our team continues to work hard for its clients and is available to speak generally with management of any School about staffing issues that arise in light of COVID-19.

In addition, you may also wish to contact the DfE’s coronavirus helpline on 0800 046 8687 (lines are open Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm, excluding bank holidays).

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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Graham Vials

Partner | Employment & Head of Education

+44 (0) 330 137 3168

+44 (0)752 580 2955

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Gillian Burns

Managing Associate | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3152

+44 (0)773 846 2372

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