education

Parents ‘falsely claiming key worker status’ to get children in school


Only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers can still go to school in the third lockdown (Picture: Getty)

Parents have been accused of pretending to be key workers to get their children a place in class.

Under the government’s tough new restrictions, only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers can still go to school during the third national lockdown, while other kids must stay at home for online learning.

Our Lady’s Bishop Eton School in south Liverpool said they were ‘overwhelmed’ with requests for key worker spaces when the lockdown was announced.

But they began receiving a ‘large number of complaints’ from other parents when an online lesson allowed them to see which children were attending class in person.

Our Lady’s Bishop Eton school in Liverpool said it received many complaints about parents pretending to be key workers (Picture: Liverpool Echo)

The school said they did ask parents for as much information as possible on the key worker application forms, and consulted with the local authority.

‘We can do no more,’ the school said. ‘Particularly when parents making such allegations will not provide the school with the information necessary to investigate them further.’

Boris Johnson warned schools may act as ‘vectors for transmission’ when he announced pupils in schools and colleges would learn remotely until mid-February during the lockdown.

But despite the stricter measures, primary schools in England are still seeing a high demand for places, with one heads’ union reporting some have had 70% of their families requesting on-site provision.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said: ‘We’re increasingly concerned about the sheer demand for key worker and vulnerable pupil places this week.

‘Our members are telling us that demand for places is much higher than it was during the first lockdown last spring. We’ve heard stories of some schools having 50-70% in.

‘This could seriously undermine the impact of lockdown measures, and may even run the risk of extending school closures.’

In the Commons yesterday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed only one parent needs to be a critical worker to access a school place during lockdown.

Mr Williamson also confirmed that children who do not have access to technology are seen as vulnerable and can attend school.

Government guidance says vulnerable children may include ‘pupils who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)’.

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