Children may not return to school ‘until May’

Children will not be returning to classrooms after the February half-term and schools may not reopen until mid-April, it has been reported.

Next week, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, is expected to confirm children will not return to classes next month, as had previously been expected – after the half-term break.

In a statement, a Number 10 source told The Times: “We are in this for the long haul. We are going to start giving parents more information so they can start managing their expectations.

“Although we have not arrived at an exact date when we think schools will go back, it will not be after half-term.”

The Daily Express reported that educational leaders believe it is highly unlikely that schools will reopen before mid-April.

Kevin Courtney, co-general secretary of the National Education Union, said any reopening before Easter seemed “optimistic”, adding: “It could be as late as May.”

It is understood that when schools reopen, it will be on a staggered basis and students studying for their GCSEs and A-levels will be allowed to return first.

The Government also plans to double the number of children who will be able to receive catch-up tuition.

The plan is to increase the number from 250,000 this year to 450,000 next year.

Meanwhile, the family of a teacher who tragically died from Covid has called on the government to ensure that teachers are vaccinated “as a priority” before schools reopen.

Paul Hidditch, 55, taught engineering at Conyers School on Teeside. In December he contracted the virus before dying from the disease two days after Christmas.

It is not known how he became infected.

His daughter Camille told Sky News: “If they’re going to send them into schools, you know, they need to be vaccinated.

“I personally think they shouldn’t be back until they’ve been vaccinated.”

You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page

Cornwall Live