The government will increase the number of hours of remote education schools have to provide and introduce an expectation that at least some provision is delivered via video lessons.

A new legal duty for schools to provide remote education for absent pupils came into force last October, and will be used by the government to enforce online learning during partial school closures this spring.

Current guidance for schools states that they must “set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school”. At primary, this would be “three hours a day, on average, across the school cohort”, and at secondary this would be “4 hours a day, with more for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year”.

But the DfE said this afternoon that it would publish updated guidance, increasing the number of hours schools are expected to provide for pupils, “building on the legal requirements already in place to ensure young people receive high quality remote education”.

The government also “expects schools to have a digital platform, such as G-Suite or Microsoft Education, and should provide at least some of their remote provision via video lessons”.

This can be done by school-led videos “or using other providers like Oak National Academy”.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson is also facing questions over his comments in the House of Commons earlier, when he said he expected to schools “to provide between three and five hours teaching a day depending on the child’s age”.

This appears to conflict with the current guidance, which stipulates that work be set, but not that a certain number of hours be specifically taught.