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Key Worker categories


Key workers

Allowing the children of keyworkers access to their child’s own nursery/school from 7January 2021 will enable them to carry out front-line, emergency work supporting the COVID-19 response.

The following points should be noted:

  • priority must be given for the most critical keyworkers’ children;
  • all staff who work in schools are considered to be keyworkers;
  • only where keyworkers are unable to organise childcare amongst their close or wider family (with due compliance to Tier 4 COVID restrictions), should they attend their normal nursery/school during the period from 7 to 8 January 2021 (from 4 January for 52-week nursery services). These dates are considered as childcare, given all other children will still be on holiday.
  • children of Category 1, 2 or 3 keyworkers should only attend nursery/school if no suitable alternative is available to the keyworker
  • both parents/carers would be required to meet the criteria of keyworker and be required to attend work at the same time (i.e. be unable to operate different shift patterns) or that the parent/carer is a sole parent that meets the criteria;
  • keyworkers should explore with their employer every possible alternative before requesting a place for their child at their school
  • children should only attend whilst their keyworker parent(s) are at work/on shift – normal school operating hours will apply
  • where there is a sole parent or both parents in a Category 1 or 2 role these should be a priority;
  • workers who have underlying health conditions or meet the definition of the ‘Risk’ group and are therefore deemed to be at most risk must not be considered a key worker;

Category 1 – criteria – typically front-line Health, Social Care staff

Keyworkers include:

  • Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response;
  • Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision. This includes:
    • Nurses – acute and community
    • Midwives – acute and community
    • Allied Health Professionals – acute and community
    • Healthcare Support Workers – acute and community
    • Public Health staff
    • Health Protection staff
    • Health workers involved in COVID and other vaccination programmes;
    • Medical staff, including GPs
    • COVID-19 hub and assessment centre, clinical services
    • Co-opted clinical workers from other organisations
  • Microbiology workers in Health directly supporting the COVID response;
  • Care staff working in residential care homes for children, adults and older people;
  • Care staff working in day care services for adults and older people;
  • Social Care staff working in Care at Home Services;
  • Essential workers at critical national infrastructure sites providing the most significant essential service provision to Scotland, such as fuel refineries, gas terminals, power stations and water sites;
  • Pharmacy staff including those working in Community Pharmacy;
  • Workers providing childcare for other category 1 and 2 staff;
  • Workers providing NHS Call Centre response;
  • Workers delivering direct care to patients/clients in an NHS or social care setting (hospital, NHS practices, care home or homecare);

Category 2 – criteria - other emergency services workers and school staff

Health and Care workers, other than those mentioned in Category 1 above, providing services that allow the Health Service to operate and ensure there are services and supplies for health care workers described above in Category 1:

  • Emergency dentist staff
  • Acute Services and Health and Social Care Partnership administration
  • Estates & facilities
  • e-health & switchboard
  • Labs
  • Procurement
  • Communications staff
  • Pharmacy staff including those working in Community Pharmacy;
  • Wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services, for example Fire Fighters, Police Officers, Ambulance staff, Prison Officers, Social Workers;
  • Those supporting Critical National Infrastructure, without whom there could be serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland e.g., cash payment, data systems, critical energy and water network roles;
  • Those staff with a critical role in food, medical supplies and technology or medicines production and delivery.
  • All staff who work in schools. (note both parents/carers must be keyworkers)

Category 3 – criteria – other critical services

The advice for local businesses in Fife is that they should make every effort to ensure that arrangements for employees’ children are explored within the organisation, rather than requesting a place at the child’s school between 7 and 8 January 2021. This may include looking at shift patterns and alternative ways of working for a greater number of staff, thus allowing them to care for their children, without the need to access the child’s school.

Businesses should not contact Fife Council to request keyworker children’s access to a school unless all other alternatives have been exhausted by the company or organisation.