Nottingham City Council has today announced school plans to support parents who are currently on the front line of tackling the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Following the Government’s announcement this week that schools would close to all pupils today (Friday 20 March), the city council is working with schools and academies to ensure arrangements have been made for those families who need help the most.

City schools will remain open in the coming weeks to pupils whose parents have been classed by the Government as ‘key workers’, plus any vulnerable children or those in care. This is defined as:

  1. Vulnerable children: those who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child-in-need plans, on child protection plans, children in care, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans
  2. Children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

However, to help stop the spread of coronavirus, it is vital that pupils stay at home if they can safely remain there.

Children do not have to be sent to school if parents and carers do not need, or wish, them to do so. For vulnerable children, schools and social workers will help to assess the best option.

Parents and carers should speak with their child’s school in the first instance to discuss arrangements.

Meanwhile, pupils in receipt of free meals who continue to go to school will get their meal as usual. For those children who must stay at home, but who would normally receive a free school lunch, Nottingham City Council has worked with several major supermarket chains to operate a voucher or gift card scheme.

Any child who is means-tested for free school meals will be issued by their school with a £20 voucher or gift card for food and groceries. This will be for every two weeks the school is closed due to coronavirus.

This scheme is coordinated by Nottingham City Council, however each school will be responsible for communicating specific arrangements with parents and carers. More details can be found here.

Councillor Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Early Years, Education and Employment at Nottingham City Council, said: “I’d like to firstly thank pupils, staff, parents and carers for their help and support during this difficult time. We understand how concerning it is for everyone, but especially for those parents and carers currently on the front line helping and supporting the rest of us.

“With the ongoing support of our schools and academies in Nottingham, we have moved quickly to make arrangements for next week to help parents and vulnerable pupils.

“However, it’s vital to point out that we all have to take every precaution as a community to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Any pupil who can safely stay at home should remain there.

“We’ve already seen a fantastic community response around this unprecedented outbreak and the Council continues to be humbled at the way Nottingham people come together in difficult times to support each other.

“Please continue to do that over the next few weeks. Protect yourselves and your families, but also look out for elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbours who may feel frightened and isolated at this time.”