Boris Johnson says 'watch this space' on schools' social distancing

19 June 2020, 13:55 | Updated: 19 June 2020, 14:02

Boris Johnson joins a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School
Boris Johnson joins a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister has said to "watch this space" when asked whether social distancing restrictions could be cut to help schools to return in September.

There has been discussion that the two-metre rule could be reduced to one in a bid to get children back into classrooms.

Speaking to broadcasters during a Hertfordshire school visit on Friday, Boris Johnson said: "Of course, on the social distancing measures, as I've said, 'watch this space'.

"We will be putting in further changes as the science allows.

"I think that's what the public also wants to see, they want to see us working with the reality."

The PM said it was "absolutely" his intention that children of all ages should be able to return to school by the autumn on a five-day-a-week basis.

Boris Johnson said to "watch this space" on social distancing in schools
Boris Johnson said to "watch this space" on social distancing in schools. Picture: PA

He added: "Let me be very clear - I want a world in which, as far as possible, provided we can make classrooms safe and I think we can, I want every child, every pupil, every student, back in September.

"I'm sure we can get it done."

"We have to start thinking of a world in which we are less apprehensive about this disease.

"Yes it has been a horrible shock for the country and for the world, and I think the British people have worked incredibly hard to drive it down.

"But we are starting to make some real progress with test and trace, with treatments for the disease, and I hope, as we go forward into the autumn, people will be much, much more confident."

Explaining what parents can expect from the fresh £1 billion of "catch-up" funding announced on Friday for pupils in England, Mr Johnson said: "The funds are broken down so some of it is for schools to decide exactly what they want to spend on depending what their priority is.

"But the thing that I think really matters is to get some more direct tuition, some one-to-one tuition for pupils, pupils who need some remedial help perhaps who really need help because they have lost time, they have lost time to learn over the last few months.

"And then also help for kids who have promise, but don't normally get it.

"This is one of the things we really want to develop as a Government - really helping schools to give more direct focus, more one-to-one tutorial help."

Asked if everyone would see one-to-one assistance, the PM said: "We don't want to impose a model that is too rigid on the schools, the teachers who are doing a fantastic job.

"We want to give them the tools to give more help where that is appropriate."

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