Coronavirus Update: Education Secretary

Important from the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in the House today to reassure parents on schools: 

"we recognised that the advice we needed on safety for schools was not advice from the DfE, but from Public Health England..." making clear public safety is the key factor. The SAGE scientific committee will be publishing all of the advice on this.

Getting back to school as soon as is possible is what's best for our children, and particularly for those who are vulnerable and are disproportionately impacted by being away. Every possible step is being taken to ensure that it is safe to do so! Remember - key workers' children have been at school throughout!

That includes smaller classes, strong guidance on health and hygiene and every possible precaution being taken. We're starting with primary aged children who are at the least risk of catching or spreading the virus, and where schools have smaller catchments than secondary's.

The number of children coming in to contact with each other will be limited, as will the number of teachers that look after them, and the curriculum adapted to suit the situation.

Schools will ONLY go back if it's safe to do so, and will do so in a steady and measured way. ALL teachers and children will be able to get tested if needed. This approach is in line with that taken by other countries, and public health is the number one priority.