The Department for Education in England has published new guidance for schools related to the recent strike actions taking place across the country.

The guidance makes it clear that head teachers are expected to take all reasonable steps to keep schools open during strike actions but emphasises that if it is not possible for all pupils to attend, priority should be given to those who are vulnerable or whose parents are critical workers.

The definition of ‘vulnerable’ is the same as the definition used during the Covid-19 pandemic, which included care experienced and adopted children as well as children in need, looked after children and any who the school believes may have challenging circumstances at home.

While this guidance is non-statutory and constitutes advice rather than a legal requirement, it does provide a basis for parents and carers to request that schools offer their eligible children continued attendance at school during strike action, minimising disruption for them and their families.

The full guidance can be found on the Department for Education’s website.