PARENTS are being warned places for children of key workers could be rationed if they don't find somewhere else for them to go.

Schools across Dorset are urging parents to only send their children to school if absolutely necessary in the fight against coronavirus.

But the Chief Executive of the Castleman Acadmey Trust, which runs Broadstone First and Middle schools, has taken it a step further, warning of prioritising and rationing spaces.

In a message to parents, Rhonda Moore said: "I am deeply sympathetic to the stresses and difficulties the COVID 19 pandemic has brought upon all our families. Schools have been closed as a strategy to enforce social distancing and stop the spread of the virus, remaining open only to the children of key workers and our most vulnerable children.

"You completed a form to inform us if you were a key worker as identified by the published list. This has led to 260 children requiring childcare.

"This number makes it far too difficult to ensure social distancing, to manage the spread of the virus and extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to ensure our staff stay safe and well so that they can care for the children of those at the front line of the COVID 19 response."

She said staff are waiting to see if the number of children reduces but added: "I do need to prepare you for the fact that we may need to prioritise and/or ration spaces for child care at our schools if demand remains at this level. We are not doing this right away, but please very seriously consider if you really do need to send your child to us at this time, for their own and your health and that of our staff.

"Please know that we want to do all we can to support you but we also need to look after us all. Social distancing is a key way to do this and with these numbers in school, we simply cannot do that successfully."