Gavin Williamson to make statement on schools returning at around 4pm

Gavin Williamson walks to a Cabinet meeting earlier this month (Picture: Rex)

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is to make a statement at around 4pm about schools.

He will make the oral statement to the House of Commons between the Covid-19 Update and Business statement.

It is not clear what Mr Williamson will say when he gives his update this afternoon.

However, there is speculation that the return of pupils in January could be delayed further, with reports that secondaries will open only to vulnerable students or children of key workers from next week, giving schools more room to set up mass testing.   

The plan is currently for pupils preparing for exams next year in England to return as normal, with other secondary children beginning the term with online learning instead. Primary schools were due to return as normal.

But the discovery of a new variant of the virus which is more transmissible has led many to question these plans.

There are calls for the opening of schools to be delayed in January (Credits: PA)

There are fears the new strain could be more easily spread among children, and hospitals are already filling up with those suffering from Covid-19.

Yesterday, the UK recorded the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic: over 50,000 new cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the priority is to ‘protect education as much as possible’.

He added: ‘But the new variant does make it much easier for this disease to transmit. So we are going to protect education as much as we can.’

More follows.


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