Primary and secondary schools are preparing to welcome children back to classrooms from 8 March in the first of a phased relaxation of England’s current national lockdown. All primary age children will be back at school from 8 March, with secondary schools able to stagger the return of pupils over the course of two weeks if necessary, the Guardian reported.

The newspaper cited comments made by education secretary Gavin Williamson during an interview with BBC Radio 4, where he was challenged about the logistics of administering three Covid tests for each secondary school pupil over the course of the first two weeks back at school.

Children in secondary school will also be required to wear masks while they are in the classroom, with a review of this policy expected at Easter.

The BBC reported that the government is considering how it can help pupils to catch up on what they’ve missed out on due to the long-term school closures over the past year.

Among the options reportedly being considered are extending the school day and running summer school sessions.

However, neither of these options have been officially put forward, with the government simply announcing an additional £400 million of funding, in addition to the £300 million announced in January to support catch-up projects.

Mr Williamson told the news provider that head teachers would be able to decide how best to spend the money for their students.

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