A number of schools are facing increased demand for places during lockdown, with many families requesting critical worker places.

Currently, primary and secondary schools are only open to the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

But Norfolk County Council has said due to the increased demand for places, it will mean for some schools, both parents are expected to be critical workers, with priority given to those whose parents work in emergency life-saving services.

John Fisher, cabinet member for Children’s Services at the county council, said: “We completely understand how difficult it is for families who are juggling work, childcare and home learning but we would encourage people to keep their children at home if they possibly can.

“Schools are facing huge pressure for places and have limited staff to work in school, due to illness and self-isolation. The restrictions on how classes can be set up are also much stricter with this lockdown.

“Although the national criteria states that only one parent needs to be a keyworker to be eligible for a place, in many schools that would mean nearly every child could still attend and schools simply cannot manage that at this time.

“We would ask parents, carers and businesses to do all they can to support schools and the lockdown – it’s vital that staff in the NHS can access places for their children in the current situation and they will have to be given priority.

“We are hugely grateful to those working in schools, academies and the early years who are providing vital support and education to the children of those responding to this pandemic.”

Some schools will need to prioritise the following groups:

  • Both parents need to be critical workers
  • NHS workers involved in COVID-19 health response, including vaccinations
  • Police and emergency services; social care staff, and education staff providing for vulnerable groups and critical worker children