Education Secretary Gavin Williamson lays out plans for children to fully return to schools

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today laid out his plans to return all children to full-time education in September.

After closing schools in March, many children will not have attended a classroom for six months but Williamson said it was time for all children to return, which would be critical to the national recovery.

"Every child has experienced unprecedented disruption to their education from coronavirus," he said. "Education recovery is critical for this generation of school children. Returning to normal educational routines is critical for our national recovery too."

Schools will continue to minimise contact through bubbles and encouraging older children to distance. This will include keeping whole year groups separate in some schools.

The government is also ensuring testing is regularly available and all children, parents and staff will have access to testing if they have symptoms.

Schools will be provided with home testing kits for anyone who develops symptoms while they are on site.

Williamson outlined that while schools will be given some leeway to return to the curriculum, he expects full exams to go ahead in the summer of 2021.

Williamson said Ofsted investigators will be there to discuss how schools are returning to full education and full inspections are expected to return from January.

The government will provide a £1bn Covid catch-up package for children who fell behind their education during lockdown.

Williamson added schools and colleges will need to work with families to ensure attendance from the start of the year and mandatory attendance will be reintroduced.

"It is important from September all children who can be at school are at school," he said.

From 20th July, Williamson said nurseries will no longer need to place group sizes on the amount of children who can play together.