Education Secretary: We will 'move heaven and earth' to avoid closing schools again

2 September 2021, 13:44

Education Secretary sets out the return to class for kids

By Elizabeth Haigh

The Education Secretary told Nick Ferrari on LBC that he hopes children will have a "much more normal experience of school life" this year.

Gavin Williamson told Nick that he will "move heaven and earth to make sure that we aren’t in a position of having to close schools."

But he also refused to rule out a rise in infections after schools return.

Secondary schools will be expected to carry out asymptomatic testing of all pupils before the start of term, Mr Williamson confirmed.

He said: "We did this in the previous term, it worked incredibly well, identified cases before those children were obviously in the classroom."

"We have every confidence that that will work well this time as well, identifying cases and keeping covid out of schools as much as possible."

Read more: Williamson defends Raab but admits own holiday was just 'couple of days'

All secondary school and college pupils in England will be invited to take two lateral flow tests at school, three to five days apart before their return to the classroom.

Mr Williamson told Nick that lateral flow tests are now quite a normal thing to do.

"I know both my daughters have got very used to it, as have I."

James O'Brien on the 'sugar rush' of reopening schools

The Education Secretary told LBC that the aim was for "children to experience a much more normal, pre-pandemic education experience as possible.

"You're seeing the end of bubbles, children not having to wear masks."

But he refused to rule out assemblies and classes taking place outside.

He said that the return to normality also applies to exams, highlighting that schools have not been able to have a normal exam cycle for the last two years.

Read more: Dominic Raab is 'toast', says former Home Secretary

"I don’t think anyone wants to see a third year of that. We want to get back to normal, not just in terms of what the classroom experience is like but also the exam experience."

He added: "We want children to be having a much more normal experience of school life."

The Education Secretary wished children returning to school all the best: "There's going to be a lot of excitement, maybe a bit of nervousness... children going to school for the first time."

Children now will not have to self-isolate if they come into contact with a positive case of covid-19. Instead, they will need to get a PCR test and isolate only if they receive a positive result.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy, believed to be 15, was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Six arrested after boy, 15, shot dead in park in west London

The collision - involving two vehicles - happened on the A61 Barnsley Road between Staincross, Barnsley, and Newmillerdam, Wakefield

Six people - including two children - die after horror crash between car and motorbike

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses his VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris promises to do 'everything in her power' to defeat Donald Trump after Joe Biden drops out of race

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden

Jill Biden breaks silence with short emotional tribute to husband Joe after he drops out of Presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting  2024 US presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting 2024 US presidential race

President Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 Presidential Race and has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Nominee.

Kamala Harris says she is running for President in first statement since Joe Biden's shock withdrawal

Joe Biden (l) and Kamala Harris (r)

As Joe Biden steps aside who replaces him as the Democrat candidate to take on Trump and what happens now?

Live
President Biden Addresses The Nation From The White House Oval Office

Joe Biden quits 2024 US election LIVE: President Biden backs VP Kamala Harris as Trump hits out at 'unfit' leader

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event yesterday

Donald Trump slams Joe Biden as ‘worst president in history’ and says Kamala Harris will be ‘easier to beat'

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 presidential race

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 US presidential race

Biden withdraws from US presidential race

Joe Biden has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as Democratic Presidential nominee

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

The 152nd Open - Day Four

American Xander Schauffele crowned The 152nd Open Champion as he finishes -9 to win in Royal Troon

Breaking News

England beat the West Indies by 241 runs in second Test at Trent Bridge

It comes as a TikTok sleuth who joined the hunt for missing teen Jay Slater said he believes the 19-year-old remains trapped in a Tenerife ravine.

Jay Slater's family blast trolls over bogus leads following sightings on the ‘Eurostar’ and ‘watching the Euros’

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree