Earlier in the week it was announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools would be closing from the end of Friday 20th March until further notice.

However, the Government also specified that schools would need to remain open for vulnerable children and for those whose parents are defined in the key workers list.

Derby City Council has advised that, where it applies, both parents need to be on that list for a child to be sent into school. This is so that we’re able to reduce the spread of the virus through schools, but also to enable staffing ratios to support the number of children in school. These guidelines also apply to nurseries, and colleges in the private and voluntary sector.

The Government guidance states only one parent is needed to qualify and so schools are able to make individual decisions depending on their circumstances, however we strongly believe that there should be as few children as possible in schools.

Schools will also be open for vulnerable children, this includes children in need, children in care, children who need safeguarding and protecting and those with Special Educational Needs, Educational Health Care Plans and those that require medically trained staff to deal with complex needs.

Schools will be sending communication directly to parents/carers and asking for information about your status so please look out for messages, but if you don’t hear anything please contact your school directly.

With regards to exams and qualifications, the Government has now issued guidance on how children will receive their qualifications. The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students which fairly reflect the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.

Finally, for those pupils and parents who are feeling anxious about the current situation a free counselling service has been made available for children and parents in Derby.

  • Kooth is for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years, and up to 25 years for children in care
  • Qwell service is for parents and carers whose children are under 18 years.

The services provide access to text-based counselling support from 12.00pm until 10.00pm on weekdays and 6.00pm until 10.00pm on weekends, and 24/7 access to online forums where concerns and relevant articles can be shared and discussed.

Cllr Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“I understand this will have a tremendous impact on all of us and we are all going to have to make sacrifices and adjust how we go about our lives but by doing this we can save lives of those most vulnerable to this terrible virus.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the schools for all the work that they are doing, from the governors, the teachers, the support staff, to the parents and the children who are all pulling together in a real community spirit.”