The Welsh government has announced it plans to have all pupils back in school in some form by the end of June.
New guidance has been released outlining measures to get pupils back, with Education Minister Kirsty Williams moving to “strike a balance” between national public health and “local flexibility”.
Teaching in small groups and pupils eating at their desks are among the steps likely to be taken, with only around a third of pupils to be allowed at any one time in classrooms.
Off school for six months
It comes just hours after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson performed a dramatic u-turn over similar plans in England.
Almost nine million children will now be off school for six months or more with many not expected to return until September.
Mr Williamson admitted the disruption could leave kids needing “a year or more” of support to catch up.
But children’s commissioner Anne Longfield went further, warning that “almost a decade of catching up on that gap may be lost”.
She said: “The risk I am most concerned about is that of a generation of children losing over six months of formal education, socialising with friends and structured routine… The Government need to face up to the scale of damage this is doing to children and scale-up their response.”
Sir Keir Starmer demanded Boris Johnson “took responsibility for his own failings” on Covid-19 following the “mess” over pupils returning to school.
The Labour leader told MPs that parents have “lost confidence” in the Government’s schools plan after it was forced to admit defeat over its desire for all primary pupils in England to attend classes before the summer break.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir told the Commons: “We all want as many children back into school as soon as it’s possible and as soon as it’s safe.
“What that required for that to happen was a robust national plan, consensus among all key stakeholders and strong leadership from the top – all three are missing.”
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