Secondary schools to ‘provide some contact’ after schools open on June 1

Boris Johnson has confirmed primary schools will open on June 1 and secondary schools will ‘provide some contact’ from June 15.

Reception, Year One and Year Six will be the first to return, the prime minister said during the daily coronavirus press conference at Downing Street.

Johnson added: ‘I do believe we will be in a position to move to Step Two of our plan. 

‘As part of Step Two we set out plans for a phased reopening of schools because the education of our children is crucial for their welfare, their health, for their longterm future and for social justice. 

‘And so in line with the approach being taken in many other countries, we want to start getting our children back into the classroom in a way that is as manageable and as safe as possible. 

‘So we said we would begin with early years settings and Reception, Year One and Year Six in primary schools. 

‘And today I can announce that it is our intention to go ahead with that as planned on June 1, a week on Monday.’

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The PM confirmed some secondary school pupils would also have contact with schools from next month.

He added: ‘We then intend, from June 15, for secondary schools to provide some contact for Year 10 and Year 12 students to help them prepare for exams next year with up to a quarter of these students in at any point.

‘By opening schools to more pupils in this limited way we are taking a deliberately cautious approach.’

He said the decision to reopen schools on June 1 came after a ‘constructive period of consultation with schools, teachers and unions led by the education secretary Gavin Williamson.’

Johnson said he acknowledged not every school was in a position to open on June 1 but the government would support them to open as soon as possible.

He said detailed guidance has been published by the Department for Education on how schools can open in a way that is safe for children, teachers and parents. 

Johnson added: ‘While of course we recognise that full social distancing may not be possible, especially when teaching young children, our guidance sets out a range of protective measures to keep children and staff safe. 

‘This includes reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing with others, staggered break and lunchtimes as well as drop-offs and pick-ups, increasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the use of shared items and utilising outdoor space. 

‘All children and staff and their families will have access to testing if they display symptoms and this will enable children and staff to get back to school if they test negative and if they test positive we will take the appropriate reactive measures. 

‘We will continue to work with the sector to support them to prepare for wider opening and ensure all children and young people can continue to receive the best care, education and training possible.’

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