Williamson promises plan for scrapping bubbles in ‘plenty of time’ for new term

Gavin Williamson has promised schools guidance on scrapping Covid restrictions “in plenty of time” before the new term.

The education secretary confirmed today that he “expects to be able to confirm plans to lift restrictions and bubbles as part of step 4″ of the government’s Covid roadmap.

It’s not known when the step 4 announcement will be made. However health secretary Sajid Javid has said there is “no reason” for England’s remaining Covid restrictions to last beyond 19 July.

Williamson said today that “once that decision has been made, we will issue guidance immediately to schools … We will of course be informing schools and keeping them up to date as to that progress in plenty of time before the start of the next term.”

But Williamson did confirm the plan is for any changes to kick in for the summer holidays – meaning summer schools would not have to follow Covid restrictions.

The education secretary added it was important all actions across government are “properly coordinated” as part of the process of easing restrictions. It is not “acceptable” for pupils to face greater restrictions “over and above” those of wider society, he added.

Williamson also said while mass testing has been an “incredibly important tool to get schools back”, he said this is being kept “under review”.

He said they would like to move away from making pupils take tests at the “earliest possible stage”.

“We don’t want children to feel there’s an extra layer of things they have to do that we as adults don’t have to.”

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