Coronavirus: List of 'key workers' delayed until Friday, says health secretary

A list of roles considered to be “key workers” will not be published until tomorrow, the health secretary has confirmed.

Matthew Hancock told BBC Question Time tonight that the list, which will determine which pupils schools have to cater-for from Monday, will be published on Friday.

This is despite a pledge by Gavin Williamson, the educations secretary, that the list would be published today.

The government announced yesterday that schools will close from tomorrow afternoon for all pupils apart from those considered vulnerable and the children of key workers.

School leaders have been waiting all day for a list of those roles defined by the government as essential, as this will guide them in the provision they offer in the weeks and months to come.

Speaking on the BBC programme, which involved no audience and had speakers sitting further apart than usual due to coronavirus fears, Hancock said the decision to close schools was one “nobody wanted to take”.

Pressed about the list of key workers, Hancock said he had been working on it today, and added: “We know we’ve got it get it out tomorrow, of course, because the schools are closing to everybody else from Monday.

“We’ll get that information out as fast as we possibly can.”

Heads are also waiting to hear whether the rules will require just one parent or both in two-parent households to be key workers to offer school-based childcare.

James Bowen, head of policy at the NAHT school leaders’ union, tweeted: “Trying to get some clarity on the one versus two key workers as parents issue (plus an actual list!) Had been led to believe it would be both, but might need exceptions if only one parent, but they are front line NHS for example.”