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Castle Gardens Primary School, Newtownards
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Supporting Children of Key Workers

20th Mar 2020

Yesterday evening I notified parents that we were working through the issues presented by the notification by the Minister of Education regarding providing care for children of key workers. 

Having worked through multiple questions, we are now in a position that we will be able to provide support for children of key workers from Monday morning.

Please note that schools will be offering reduced provision to children of key workers who do not have provision for their children to stay at home. Essentially childcare, as opposed to teaching and learning, will be provided in schools.

Key worker parents requiring care provision:

  • Many parents working in the identified key workers list may be able to ensure that their child is kept at home. 
  • There is no requirement for identified key worker parents to take up this offer or send their children to school if they do not wish to.
  • Any children previously withdrawn from school on the basis of risk should not return.
  • Only children with BOTH parents working as Key Workers and only when both parents are working AT THE SAME TIME should their children attend school.
  • In single parent families, the main carer MUST be a Key Worker and be required at work.
  • Every alternative childcare arrangement should be explored before deciding to send children to school. School should, in effect, be a LAST RESORT. This is in order to comply with general public health advice on social distancing.
  • Wrap around services will not be available and schools will only be open for normal school hours.
  • Children who refuse to attend school must not be forced to do so.  Schools cannot be expected to accept responsibility for those children that present a flight risk.
  • There will be no nurse or medical support available in schools.
  • Provision of any level of service will be dependent on staff availability and the school may have to be closed if this becomes a problem.
  • If you are a key worker and believe that you may need to avail of this reduced provision and believe you are eligible, please contact the school immediately.

Places will be allocated from the following categories: 

  1. Health and Social Care 
  2. Education 
  3. Public safety and national security 
  4. Transport 
  5. Utilities and Communication 
  6. Food Provision 
  7. Local and national government 

Many families got in touch this morning and through the night to request a place for their child. This notification is for any remaining families to get in touch if they think this is relevant. 

If you think this is relevant to you, please contact us via the school app before 9pm this evening. Places will be confirmed with parents on Sunday by text message.