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updated on 20 March 2020
Ref: 39771
School types: All · School phases: All

Here's the information you need to get from parents now, and how to create and send a simple form to collect it within 25 minutes. You'll then know which children will be coming to school next week, if your LA isn't co-ordinating this for you. Now updated to include the official list of critical workers.

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Check with your local authority whether it is collecting this critical worker information across your area for you, before acting on the steps here.

As well as staying open for the children of critical workers who can't be cared for at home, you'll need to continue to provide for vulnerable children in school. We'll publish separate information on this once we have clear information from the government.

Ask for the following information

  • Their name
  • Names of all children in their household who attend your school
  • Whether any of the following roles apply to them:
    • Health and social care - doctor, nurse, midwife, paramedic, social worker, care worker, other frontline health and social care staff (paid or volunteer), producer or distributor of medicine or personal protective equipment
    • Education and childcare - teaching or nursery staff, social worker, specialist education professional who needs to continue working during the COVID-19 crisis
    • Key public services - staff in the justice system, religious staff, worker delivering key frontline services, responsible for management of the deceased, or a journalist or broadcaster providing public service broadcasting
    • Local and national government - staff responsible for delivering essential public services (e.g. delivering benefits)
    • Food production and delivery - staff involved in production, processing, delivery and sale of food and other key goods (e.g. hygienic and veterinary medicines)
    • National security - police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian, contractor, and armed forces personnel, fire rescue service employees (and support staff), National Crime Agency staff, border security staff, prison and probation staff
    • Transport - staff working to keep air, water, road, and rail transport running during the crisis (both freight and passenger)
    • Financial services - essential staff in financial services (including banks, building societies, and financial market infrastructure)
    • Communication - staff working network operations, field engineering, call centres, IT and data infrastructure, or 999 and 111
    • Utilities - staff in the oil, gas, electricity, and water sectors (including sewerage worker), civil nuclear and chemicals, waste disposal, postal service, or payment providers

You can find this full list of roles on the GOV.UK website.

Let parents know why you need this information

Use the following points in an explainer at the start of your form or in any message you send to accompany it:

  • From Monday 23 March, schools in England will only stay open for the children of critical workers who cannot be looked after at home, and for children who are vulnerable
  • To help us plan for next week, we need to ask you whether any parent/carer in your household is a critical worker - and, if so, whether you'll need your child or children to come into school or whether you can look after them at home
  • Only one parent or carer in a household needs to count as a critical worker for this to apply to you. We also kindly ask that, if you have a critical worker in your household but can still look after your child or children at home, you do so if at all possible
  • If you're not sure if this applies to you, ask your employer before completing this form
  • Please take 2 minutes to complete this short form to help us gather this information quickly and plan for the children we need to support in school next week

From a data protection perspective, gathering this information is vital in order for you to continue running your school properly. As long as you clearly explain to parents and carers why you need to ask for it, you're GDPR-compliant.

Use a Google Form or other survey form to collect the information

You can use any tool you're comfortable with, but we recommend using a Google form because they're easy to set up and share with parents. Google also collates all responses for you, which you can download as a spreadsheet.

Note that only one parent or carer in a household needs to be a critical worker for their child to qualify for continued education in school. However, the government guidance does encourage parents and carers who are critical workers to keep their children at home if they can do so safely.

Here's how you can do this in about 15 minutes

  1. Create a Google account or sign in to your current one
  2. Go to Google Forms
  3. Click the '+' icon on the left-hand side of the screen to make a new form
  4. Edit 'Untitled form' to give your form a title. Explain what it's for (see above) in 'Form description'
  5. In 'Untitled question', type your first question to ask for the parents' or carers' names
    • Click on the drop-down box to the right and select 'Short answer'
    • Move the 'Required' slider bar to on (a purple dot), so people must answer this question
  6. Press the '+' icon on the right-hand side to create a new question, asking for a list of their children's names
    • Click on the drop-down box and select 'Paragraph'. Set the question as 'required', as above
  7. Create a new question - 'A parent/carer in my household is a critical worker (select role(s))'
    • Click on the drop-down box and select 'Checkboxes'
    • In 'Option 1' enter the first critical worker role listed above (Health and social care...), then repeat this in new rows until you have listed all the critical worker roles stated above
    • Do not make this a 'required' question
  8. Create a new question - 'A parent/carer in my household might be a critical worker (tell us your role(s))'
    • Click on the drop-down box and select 'Short paragraph'. Do not make this 'required'
  9. Create a new question - 'I don't think a parent/carer in my household is a critical worker (tell us your role(s))'
    • Click on the drop-down box and select 'Short paragraph'. Do not make this 'required'
  10. Create a new question - 'If a parent or carer in your household is a critical worker, or you think they might be, please confirm whether you would like your child/children to continue to come into school'. Click on the drop-down box and select 'Multiple choice'. Enter 'Yes' and 'No' in the 'Option 1'/'Option 2' rows. Do not make this 'required'
  11. Click into the 'Responses' tab at the top and make sure 'Accepting responses' is turned on (purple dot)
  12. Click on the eye symbol (top right-hand corner) to preview your form
  13. Click 'Send' when the form is ready (top right)
  14. Choose how to share the form with parents/carers. You can enter email addresses, or click on the link icon (next to the email icon) to get a link that you can paste into a text message or any other form of communication

Once you've sent the form, you'll be able to see all responses in the 'Responses' section. Click the green and white icon to see the responses in a spreadsheet.

Record the answers in your MIS

If your school uses ScholarPack (The Key's MIS), you'll soon be able to:

  • Message critical worker parents
  • Report on them as a group in any existing report
  • Register them as a group

We'll update this article as soon as this feature is available.


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