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Council responds to Government school closure announcement

Published Thursday, 19th March 2020

School stationery in shades of blue

Following the Government's announcement that schools in England are to close from Friday afternoon.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning said: “We know now that after tomorrow, the vast majority of pupils will not be attending school until further notice.

“The Government has said that there will be exceptions to this, as schools will still be open for children of key workers, such as NHS staff, police officers and delivery drivers, and also the most vulnerable children – those who have a social worker, or have an Education Health and Care Plan.

“We heard how early year providers, nurseries and sixth form colleges will also be expected to support this plan.

“We are expecting more details and advice on what constitutes a key worker to be issued by the Cabinet Office later today and will work on our local response to this with our colleagues in schools accordingly.

“Importantly, the Government also said that to support children eligible for free school meals, schools will be able to purchase meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops.

“The government has also confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs. The final amounts will be confirmed shortly.

“Schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets or shops in their communities to be emailed or printed and posted to families, and they will have their costs covered by the Department for Education. We are aware that the Department for Education have said that guidance for schools will be published shortly and we are and will continue to work with schools across the Borough to help them implement the measures announced.

“We understand that families, teachers and school employees will have many questions and will be understandably worried about the situation, but I would like to reassure everyone that we will continue to do all we can to support those affected and will share more information as and when it becomes available.” 

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