Reopening Primary Schools on June 1 is 'crucial' to young children says Prime Minister Boris Johnson in latest Covid 19 government briefing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the phased reopening of schools is “crucial” for children, as he announced plans to push ahead with a June 1 resumption for some youngsters.

Sunday, 24th May 2020, 5:52 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th May 2020, 5:54 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives his next update on moving out of lockdown measures

“The education of children is crucial for their welfare, for their long-term future and for social justice,” he said.

“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.

“We said we would begin with early years’ settings and reception, year one, and year six in primary schools.”

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Mr Johnson said: “Today, I can announce it is our intention to go ahead with that as planned on June 1, a week on Monday.

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

Mr Johnson acknowledged it would be “tough” to reopen schools but promised to work with councils on the plan for England.

“This is going to be tough,” he told the Downing Street press conference as he thanked teachers and staff who had worked to keep schools operating for the children of key workers and for vulnerable pupils.

“What we will do is make sure that we stagger things and we pace things and we work directly with you, with local authorities, to make sure that there is a plan.”

He said the key to fully reopening schools by September “at the very latest” is to “keep pushing down” the coronavirus R value – the rate at which the disease is transmitted.

“That is going to be the most effective way to ensure that not just our schools but all our economy is ready to go back as fast as possible,” he said.

But Mr Johnson acknowledged it “may not be possible” for all schools, with several planning to only welcome some pupils from certain age groups.

A final decision will be taken as part of a legally binding lockdown review.