Watch: Gavin Williamson leads Covid news conference ahead of school return

24 February 2021, 15:09 | Updated: 24 February 2021, 17:46

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Gavin Williamson held a Downing Street press conference at 5pm - watch it in full here.

The Education Secretary was joined by deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries.

He addressed the nation ahead of the return of all pupils to schools in England on March 8.

It comes after an extra £400 million of funding was announced on Wednesday - on top of £300 million pledged in January - to help pupils catch up from coronavirus disruption.

The programme includes a one-off £302 million "Recovery Premium" for primary and secondary schools to support disadvantaged pupils. 

Meanwhile, secondary schools have been asked to deliver some summer teaching to counteract the months of classroom closures.

Mr Williamson has also not ruled out lengthening school days or shortening summer breaks.

Pressed on whether extending the school day could be among the measures, he told Sky News: "We'll be looking at how we can boost and support children in a whole range of different manners.

"But it's not just about time in school it's about supporting teachers in terms of the quality of teaching and how we can help them."