PREPARATIONS are being put in place to keep a small number of schools in York partially open in the weeks ahead to look after the children of key workers.

Schools in York have been asking parents to let them know if they are in the NHS or emergency services so their children can be looked after from next week onwards.

In a letter to parents South Bank Academy Trust said: "Working alongside the local authority, we are exploring the feasibility of consolidating a service on a small number of sites in each of our school areas.

"If you work in any of the following occupations and in the event of school closure would usually have to stop work in order to care for your child or children, please get in touch: NHS; police; ambulance service; fire and rescue service; adult care; children’s social care."

The executive head of South Bank Multi Academy Trust - which includes Millthorpe and York High schools, Trevor Burton, has also said schools need more clarity on what will happen next for exam students.

Schools and other education providers across York, North Yorkshire and the entire country will close their doors for the foreseeable future at the end Friday as part of the plans to tackle Coronavirus.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the only exception to this is children of key workers and vulnerable children. This includes the children of NHS and emergency workers among others.

Mr Williamson said that a some schools will remain open, but looking after a far smaller number of pupils - in the case of an average school more like 40 rather than the usual 400. He also said that those still going to school will have a very informal classes, not the National Curriculum.

He added that schools can be expected to be closed for “quite some time” but was unable to give a specific timescale at present.

Mr Williamson said there are plans to cancel GCSE and A-level exams for around 5 million young people but still grade them so they can “have the best opportunities in terms of progressing their education, or going into work or on to college”.

“We’ve already had discussions of outlines with Universities UK and the head teachers’ unions, giving a clear indication of the route we are looking at going down”, he said.

“We want to make sure that we get any of the concerns from these bodies and take them on board, and make sure we give the best advice to schools and colleges when we issue that on Friday.

“There will have to be an appeals process.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “We are waiting for details from Ofqual about how GCSEs and A-levels will be assessed and grades awarded in lieu of exams. However, we expect that it will be based on teacher assessment supported by evidence of internal assessment that has already taken place such as mock exams, and that this will be submitted to the exam boards which will then check submissions to ensure consistency and fairness and award grades accordingly.”

The Government is expected to publish a list of key workers later today(March 19).

York Press: New head teacher Andrew Daly

At Archbishop Holgate's CE School, head teacher, Andrew Daly (pictured) said the school will continue to be open as normal for all year groups tomorrow.

He said: "We realise that this is a particularly difficult time for students in Y11 and Y13. We are very proud of these young people and how hard they have worked for their exams. As soon as we get further clarity from the Government about their plans to ensure that all students get the grades they deserve we will be in touch. The school sees this as a key priority and one where clarity is needed as soon as possible.

"The school has already made detailed plans for how to support students with their work during the school closure. Work will be available for all students from Monday from our Home Learning page on our website.  We have demonstrated to the students today how to access it.

"We are now planning the provision we can offer children of key workers and for those who are vulnerable.  In order to help with this planning it would be very helpful if the parents/carers who are key workers complete a very short survey for us in order to help us establish how many children to expect in our schools."