Plans for all primary school pupils to return to school for four weeks before the summer holidays have been scrapped by the government.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson announced the news today (June 9).
Ministers had planned to have all primary school pupils back to school by June 21.
However, Williamson said the government had no choice but to drop its “ambition” for all primary school pupils to return before the summer holidays.
He said: “We continue to follow the best scientific advice and believe that this cautious, phased return is the most sensible course of action to take.”
Williamson added: “While we’re not able to welcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer, we continue to work with the sector on the next steps.”
He added they would “like to see schools who have the capacity to bring back more children in those smaller class sizes”.
We continue to work with the sector on the next steps.
And the government would like this to happen “before the summer holidays” if schools are able.
Earlier, a source said the Department for Education was expected to “wind back a bit” on its pledge to get younger kids back in school.
Schools not reopening until Sept .Safety is paramount! The Government need to make the effort as they have for NHS and the Furlough scheme. This is our children’s education and their preparation for their futures that we are talking about equally important!
— …… م💙 (@londonma123) June 9, 2020
I’m certainly not. Schools not reopening fully by September will be a far, far greater social and economic harm than COVID-19.
— Daniel Cremin (@DanielCreminUK) June 9, 2020
I really don’t understand how pubs reopening are more of a priority than getting children back to school?
— Lucy Zilberkweit (@Lucyzilb) June 9, 2020
Primary schools started to slowly open up and welcome reception, year 1 and year 6 on June 1.
Children have been placed in “protective bubbles” of no more than 15 per class. This is to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Kids turned away
However, space is an issue when it comes to socially-distanced classrooms.
Some children were even turned away at the school gates as teachers “weren’t ready” for them.
The government source told The Sun: “Some schools don’t have enough space. We have always said we will listen to schools so we are likely to step back a bit on that.”
They added: “Some schools are bigger so are able to split kids up. But we understand not all will be able to do this.”
Secondary school update
When it came to secondary schools, Williamson also issued an update.
He said: “We will be working to bring all children back to school in September.”
He added: “I know students who are due to take exams in 2021 will have experienced considerable disruption to their education this year. We are committed to doing all we can to minimise the effects of this.”
Williamson also said that exams will take place next year.
“Exams will take place next year and we are working with Ofqual and the exam boards on our approach to these,” he added.
Testing at schools
Health secretary Matt Hancock also revealed plans for coronavirus testing for teachers and pupils as classes resume.
He’s aiming to have up to 100 schools tested across England by the end of the summer term, with around 200 staff and children involved at each of those schools.
Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and tell us your thoughts.