Schools across Southend have been working together on an action plan to make provision for key workers and vulnerable children.
Some schools will remain open to look after the children of those whose professions were listed by the Government as vital, plus vulnerable children, those who have a social worker, or have an Education Health and Care Plan.
Many schools in the borough are part of academy trusts and are therefore making their own arrangements within those trusts. However head teachers are informing the council’s director of learning about their plans in order to report to the Department of Education and ensure the local response is coordinated.
Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning said: “As of Monday the vast majority of pupils will not be attending school until further notice. However, schools will be giving guidance to those parents in order for children to continue their learning at home, through online learning portals.
“Since the announcement, the schools have worked quickly and efficiently to establish lists of the parents who are considered key workers.
“Schools are also asking parents whether or not the place is needed, because while those parents may be eligible for a childcare place, they may have made other arrangements. The national principles set out by the Government also state that if it is at all possible for children to be home, then they should be.
“Some schools have teamed together through existing academy connections, geography or religion so that resources are not spread too thinly. There might be slightly different arrangements between each of the schools which are staying open, but we are confident there is enough capacity to support our key workers in the borough whilst still protecting our children and the wider community.
“I want to say a heartfelt thank you all the school staff for their quick response to this situation and their continued support. They are doing everything they can for their pupils and the community, and council officers have been humbled by sheer number of offers of help above and beyond what is being asked.
“School staff are among the key worker list also and every profession on that list is vital to help us get through the current situation we all face.”
Schools have been liaising directly with parents, with the council currently collating the list of schools that will remain open.
For trusted information, please visit: www.southend.gov.uk/coronavirus