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It’s first day of home… as schools shut

Open: Key worker drops off children at Norden Primary School in Rochdale PICTURE: SWNS

MILLIONS of pupils were at home yesterday after schools closed for all but vulnerable youngsters or those whose parents were on a list of ‘key workers’.

But even essential staff — including medics, police, food delivery workers and some financial services providers — were being urged to look after their children where possible.

Many youngsters were ‘remote learning’ online. Parents were also encouraged to oversee home-schooling.

The Department for Education has asked parents to keep their children at home unless their work is ‘critical’ and they have no other childcare option.

Despite earlier fears that schools would struggle to cope, initial reports suggested otherwise.

Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘Schools are reporting that the number of pupils arriving is manageable. We are grateful to parents for their understanding.’

Paul Whiteman, of the National Association of Head Teachers, urged employers not to exploit the key workers list and instead provide flexibility for their staff. He said: ‘Do not put profit over people — school places are there for the most vulnerable and to keep truly crucial operations running.’

Actors and celebrities unable to work due to the virus have been doing their bit to help mums and dads. Susie Dent, of Channel 4’s Countdown, urged parents to sign up to the Sir Linkalot spelling app, while Ben Fogle went online with ‘tales of Everest, swimming with crocodiles and rowing oceans’.

But not everyone was finding educating their kids at home a breeze.

TV historian and father-of-three Dan Snow tweeted: ‘Attempts at maths abandoned. We are listening to Mr Brightside on loop and jumping around.’