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UK: Government U-turns on school guidance for children of key workers

Jedidajah Otte, The Guardian |

Children of key workers should only attend school if their parents or carers cannot work from home, the government has said in yet another U-turn – after it previously expanded the offer of in-person school places in England to children who lack digital devices and quiet spaces in their homes.

The Department for Education (DfE) updated its guidance for critical workers on Friday evening, and advised parents and carers of children who are eligible for a school place that they should keep them at home if at all possible.

“Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (Covid-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following sections. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can,” the DfE guidance now states.

It comes after schools and teachers raised alarm over fears that schools could become overwhelmed amid worsening staff shortages and higher numbers of pupils attending school than during the first lockdown in spring.

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