Schools and early years providing emergency childcare

Parents thanked for keeping children at home where possible.

Empty desks in North Yorkshire school

Education leaders in North Yorkshire have thanked parents for heeding advice in keeping their children at home wherever possible.

The Government announced last week that schools and nurseries would remain open for the children of workers with jobs identified as critical. Parents were asked to keep their children at home wherever possible; only sending children to school when they were working and keeping them at home if a partner was available. Keeping as few children and young people in school as possible is crucial in limiting the spread of the virus.

That advice has been followed, with approximately five to seven per cent of pupils still attending school in North Yorkshire. Presently, 45 schools have closed and the remaining 277 primary and secondary schools, including academies, remain open to provide childcare for the children of key workers.

Stuart Carlton, director of Children and Young People’s Services, said: “We understand these are very challenging times for parents and children, who are being asked to do something unprecedented. These measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of everyone and to support key workers as they respond to Coronavirus outbreak.

“We would like to thank parents for heeding the advice in keeping children at home wherever possible; it means schools remain safe environments for pupils and staff. The fewer the number of children in school, the less the risk of the virus spreading. Currently, all but 45 schools in North Yorkshire have managed to remain open and can safely manage the low numbers of pupils attending. We will continue to support those schools in whatever way we can.”

Schools are open to provide childcare to the children of keyworkers and while in school, pupils will be occupied throughout the day with age-appropriate activities which will vary from school to school.

Where schools or Early Years settings have closed, due to staffing issues, arrangements have been made to create cluster settings. In the vast majority of cases, this involves pupils attending a school in a neighbouring village, or a short distance away. The cluster arrangements have deliberately been arranged on a small scale, to avoid large groups of pupils being gathered in one place and allow staffing to be pooled, including catering and cleaning roles.

Children in school will continue to receive meals and home to school transport arrangements provided by North Yorkshire County Council are being left in place, even if the numbers using the services are very low. Any buses or taxi schemes which no longer have any pupils will be stood down.

An updated list on school which have closed can be found on our COVID-19 web pages.

For those pupils not in school, parents are reminded to observe the Government restrictions, including making sure young people do not continue to meet up in social groups, or meet with small groups of friends.

This story was published 25 March 2020