Secondary schools and colleges may have return dates staggered

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that while primary school pupils are set to return to school on March 8 those in secondary school or collages may face a staggered return.

Mr Williamson also said A-Level and GCSE pupils will get grades based on assessments by their teachers this year.

Speaking earlier this evening at a live press conference Mr Williamson announced that although primary schools would open from March 8 secondary schools and colleges might stagger their opening during the week.

He said the government will review the timing for other students to return to university for the middle of April.

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Mr Williamson also said that the the data fully supported a return to the classroom on March 8, and said there would be a "robust testing regime" in schools.

Mr Williamson said that four million tests have already been completed across primary, secondary schools and colleges.

He said 18,242,873 people have vaccinated across the United Kingdom as of today. He also said 121,747 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died representing an increase of 442 since yesterday.

Earlier, the Education Secretary announced an extra £400 million of funding for schools, including cash for secondaries to run summer schools to counteract the months of classroom closures. It comes in addition to £300 million previously announced.

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Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green has responded Mr Williamson's briefing by saying the catch-up support announced by the government "is just not ambitious enough".

She says her party estimates that, even with the new funding announced today, only about a quarter of children on free school meals will get a place on the national tutoring programme.

She says ministers need to focus on the long-term rather than "piecemeal" announcements.

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On exam grades, she says there will be a "robust" appeals system to allow pupils to challenge the grades they get under the system to be announced tomorrow.

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