No date for schools to reopen – Education Secretary reveals five tests that need to be met first

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. Photograph: Screengrab

There is no date for schools to reopen, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said.

At today’s Downing Street press conference, Mr Williams responded to newspaper reports which suggested that a phased opening of schools could begin as early as 11 May.

He said:

  • People are anxious to know when we’re going to relax restrictions, when schools are likely to be fully back and open again.

    Of course, I want nothing more than to see schools back, get them back to normal, make sure the children are sat around, learning, and experiencing the joy of being at school.

    But I can’t give you a date.

    Because before we do, we need to meet five tests.

On those five tests, Mr Williamson said: “First we must protect the NHS’s ability to cope, and be sure that it can continue to provide critical care and specialist treatment right across the whole of the United Kingdom.

“Second, we need to see daily death rates from coronavirus coming down.

“Third, we need to have reliable data that shows the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels.

“Four, we need to be confident that testing capacity and PPE is being managed, with supply able to meet, not just today’s demand, but future demand.

“And fifth, and perhaps most crucially, we need to be confident that any changes we do make will not risk a second peak of infections.

“When we can be sure that we have met these five essential points, we can think about getting children into schools again, learning, mastering new ideas and being with their friends once more.”