Boris Johnson has confirmed schools in England will start to reopen on June 1.
The Prime Minister said reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils will be the first to go back during today’s coronavirus press conference.
Despite acknowledging that some schools will not be able to reopen on June 1, Mr Johnson argued it was crucial for children to return to the classroom.
However the plans face serious opposition, with councils in Liverpool, Hartlepool, Birmingham, Solihull and Essex all previously saying the June 1 date may not be possible.
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.”
He added that educating children was key to social justice as well as their welfare and future.
Mr Johnson 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.”
The Prime Minister said strict guidance, including staggered breaks, reducing the use of shared items and smaller class sizes, will help protect children and staff.