The Department of Education has published a list of ‘key workers’ whose children will be prioritised for education provision following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Schools will close to the majority on Friday (March 20), but will continue to provide care for a number of children.

The Department for Education has said if children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

It has issued the following principles to parents:

– If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

– If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.

– Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

– Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

– Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Here is the list of workers whose children will be prioritised for schooling:

Health and social care

This includes frontline health and social care staff - such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector. In addition, those working in supply chains, including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment are included.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery, teaching staff and social workers, as the department said these workers are required to deliver their plans.

Key public services

Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, as well as those responsible for managing the deceased and journalists providing public service broadcasting are on the list.

Local and national government

The list ‘only includes administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response or delivering essential public services’, including payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods

The list includes those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.

Public safety and national security

Police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian staff and armed forces personnel are on the list, along with fire and rescue staff, as well as those responsible for border security, prison and probation staff.


The list includes those who will keep ‘air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response’.

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running are on the list, along with those in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and working to provide essential financial services provision are also included.