On Friday March 20th 2020, schools across the UK will close until further notice as the government ramps up measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Department for Education has published a list of “key workers” whose children will be prioritised for schooling during general closures because of coronavirus. 

“If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision,” the Department for Education said.

Agencies seeking to double down on their niche or build a balanced sector portfolio, should review the list of roles below to see where they can provide assistance to current clients or explore new opportunities. 

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to;

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Paramedics 
  • Social workers
  • Care workers 
  • Other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care 
  • Health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes:

  • Nursery
  • Teaching staff
  • Social workers
  • Specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the:

  • Justice system,
  • Religious staff
  • Charities and workers delivering key frontline services, 

those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

  • Administrative occupations – i.e. payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

  • Food production
  • Processing
  • Distribution
  • Sale and delivery 
  • Those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

  • Police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians
  • contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff
  • Those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.


  • Air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

  • Essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • Oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • Information technology and data infrastructure sector
  • Primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • Key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
  • Postal services and delivery
  • Payments providers
  • Waste disposal sectors.


Source: Guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision