Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Schools to make 'phased return' from June 1 at the earliest
11 May 2020, 14:16
Schools in England will return in phases from June 1 at the earliest, with reception, year 1 and year 6 expected to return to classrooms first.
In new guidelines issued on Monday, the Government said the rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet.
But they said a phased return could begin in Step Two of the lockdown release plan, which will begin no earlier than June 1.
It said pupils will return to class in smaller groups than usual but aims to give young students and those moving to secondary school in September more time with teachers.
Schools were closed on March 20 to the majority of children, with only vulnerable children and the children of keyworkers remaining in lessons.
The Government hopes to get all primary pupils back to school for one month before the summer break if possible.
Year 10 and 12 students will receive some face-to-face lessons ahead of GCSEs, A-Levels or other key exams next year.
The Government has also amended its guidance to clarify that paid childcare, for example nannies and childminders, can take place where safe in a bid to get working parents back to work.
In the new guidelines, the Government said: “Schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June.
“The Government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes, from this point.
“This aims to ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers.
“Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning.
“The Government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review.
“The Department of Education will engage closely with schools and early years providers to develop further detail and guidance on how schools should facilitate this.”