The Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said on Wednesday that there are “no plans whatsoever” to close schools again.
He told MPs in the House of Commons that ensuring children are tested and vaccinating pupils who are eligible will keep them in the classrooms.
He told the Commons Education Committee today he said, “Protecting face-to-face learning is my absolute priority. I have no plans whatsoever to close schools again.
“I know that the way we maintain face-to-face learning is through boosting the most vulnerable in our society… vaccinating the 12 to 15-year-olds as well, and of course the testing programme.”
At the end of the year the government will publish a report over extending the school day, which could be by as much as 30 minutes a day to help children catch up with their work.
On Tuesday Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee Robert Halfon called on the Education Secretary to make a case to lengthen the school day.
Halfron said, “We know from the Education Policy Institute that it increases educational attainment from two to three months, especially amongst disadvantaged pupils.
“We know that a longer school day, according to the department for culture, media, sports, increases numeracy by 29%. So, this increases educational attainment.
“Will he at least consider some pilot schemes in disadvantaged areas around the country where we can have a longer school day?”
Zahawi told Halfron, “I think the priority has to be for those children and students, who have the least time available to them to recover, which is why the £800m for the 16 to 19-year-olds additional 40 hours of education is so important.
“Plus the £1bn going into secondary and primary, making the total £5bn of recovery money.
“There are some excellent examples… of a longer school day which I’m going to look at. The average school day now is 6.5 hours and I would like to see everybody move towards that average.”