Support for Parents and carers (including schools and early years)

Useful information, guidance and support for Parents and Carers during the period of National Restrictions.


Schools are currently open for face-to-face learning for children of critical key workers and vulnerable children only. All other children will be supported to learn remotely by their schools.

Who Qualifies as a Vulnerable Child?

The updated definition of vulnerable children and young people is as follows:

  • Children and Young People who are known to Social Care which includes:
    • Children in Need
    • Those on a Child Protection Plan
    • Children in Care
    • Those at Edge of Care
    • Care Leavers
    • Those open to a Child and Family Assessment
  • Children and Young People with an EHCP
  • Young Carers
  • Adopted children or children on a Special Guardianship Order (SGO)
  • Children and young people at risk of going NEET
  • Children and young people living in temporary accommodation
  • Children and young people who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
  • Others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health
There are further factors that may be taken into consideration when determining whether a child or young person is vulnerable:
  • eligible for means tested Free School Meals
  • open to Early Help
  • asylum seekers or refugees
  • complex health needs
  • in the EHCP assessment process
  • disabilities and/or impairments
  • accessing Short Break support
  • not accessing 25 hours of provision per week
  • been permanently excluded or are at risk of permanent exclusion
  • missing education (CME) or persistently absent
  • accessing Alternative Provision
  • receiving support from BOSS (Behaviour Outreach Support Services)
  • open to CAMHS
  • at risk of self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • monitored by a Proactive Monitoring and Support group (for either ASD/LD or SEMH)
  • Social, Emotional or Mental Health concerns

Who is classed as a critical key worker?


In order to ensure a fair and transparent system, schools and academies across Doncaster have worked with the Local Authority to develop and agree a key criteria process to help prioritise which children will be able to access face-to-face provision over the coming weeks.

With schools and academies needing to ensure that they have the staffing capacity to deliver both remote and face-to-face learning simultaneously, while also ensuring that schools are as safe as possible, it has been necessary to limit the numbers of children learning on school premises. This unfortunately means that not everybody who has requested to receive face-to-face provision has been invited to do so.

Our first priority is children considered vulnerable. After that, those families where both parents (or single parents) are critical workers have been given initial priority, this is to ensure that the only children receiving their learning in school are those who have nobody at home who can safely support them.

Where it has been possible schools have worked hard to offer spaces to all those who have applied and are eligible, where capacity and resource has made this not possible the criteria has been used to decide how to offer places. 

A Critical Key Worker as defined by the Department for Education is as follows:


Health and social care

Including, but is not limited to; doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes: childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals who must remain active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes: those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of: the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, and the delivery of and response to EU transition, essential public services, such as the payment of benefits and the certification or checking of goods for import and export (including animal products, animals, plants and food), including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food:production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, and those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes: police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response and EU transition), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, and those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles (including overseas).

Transport and border

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass and those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes: staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers, and waste disposal sectors.

What do I do if I don’t have access to the right equipment for remote learning?

Speak with your school directly, as laptops and tablets should be available for those who are in need of equipment for remote learning.

My child is learning remotely but entitled to Free School Meals what should I do?

Speak with your school directly: children will be provided with Free School Meal Vouchers (at the value of £15 per week per child) or schools can also continue to provide meals or hampers. Further details on the national voucher scheme will be provided shortly.

What will happen with my child’s scheduled exams?

Students will not be asked to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer. The Education Secretary expects Ofqual to consider a teacher assessed system as a replacement for GCSEs, AS and A levels. A consultation will be launched next week and conclude swiftly to give certainty to schools, colleges and students, while also giving them the opportunity to have their say.

Early Years

Early Years settings (including private nurseries and childminders) remain open. Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care).School Nurseries are encouraged to open like other Early Years providers but this is at the discretion of the Head teacher. As a minimum, they should be open to vulnerable children and critical worker children in line with the rest of the school.

We know that some Critical Workers with children in the Early Years age range may be struggling to find a childcare place during this time.Families Information service are here to help!

The team are on hand to provide personal support in helping to match parents and children with one of our wonderful and dedicated Ofsted registered Early Years providers. Alternatively you can use the Families Information Service childcare finder to search for an Early Years Provider at

Contact us:

Freephone: 0800 138 4568

Phone: 01302 735237




Last updated: 08 January 2021 11:14:48