Schools 'will not reopen in June' - First Minister

Credit: PA

The First Minister Mark Drakeford MS has said schools in Wales will definitely not open to all children before July at the earliest.

Some schools are still open for the children of key workers, but all schools have been closed to other pupils since March because of coronavirus.

It comes as Wales prepares to adapt to the "modest" alterations to the lockdown from Monday. People will be able to exercise outside more than once a day, while garden centres, rubbish tips and libraries can begin to reopen.

"We're not convinced at this point that opening schools in any significant way would be the right thing to do," Mark Drakeford told BBC Radio 4.

"We're not going to be reopening schools in Wales in the next three weeks, or indeed in June".

Asked if that meant he was ruling out reopening schools for the whole of June, a spokesman for the First Minister said nothing had changed since the education minister's statement on Thursday, when she quashed speculation about schools reopening on June 1st.

Some UK newspapers have often quoted that date as a possible date for reopening, but the Welsh Government have stressed that education is devolved in Wales and any decision will be made by Welsh ministers.

In a message posted on her Twitter account last week, Kirsty Williams urged people to "think twice" before sharing information not from a direct source.

Some schools are still open for the children of key workers. Credit: ITV News

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a similar set of changes to the lockdown in England during a speech on Sunday evening.

Mark Drakeford MS said on Saturday he believes the UK will take a common approach and "move forward in the same basic way" when easing lockdown restrictions.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast the Welsh Government's changes to the restrictions were "very modest but meaningful".

He insisted that announcing the changes ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address on Sunday was not intended to pressurise England to come into step with Wales.

"We've announced what we're going to do but we've also said we won't introduce these changes until Monday, so that the United Kingdom does indeed move forward together into the next period," he said.

"It'll be for the Prime Minister to decide what happens in England and I don't want to anticipate that but you will have seen what his spokesperson has been saying over the last couple of days - that the prime minister is committed to a cautious approach to lifting lockdown, he's focused on the public health implications of any changes."

Mr Drakeford said he believed that changes already announced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be "echoed" in England.