Parents will get two weeks notice before schools reopen, Gavin Williamson has said.
The Education Secretary said he wants classrooms to reopen at the “earliest possible opportunity” – which he said he “hoped” would be before Easter.
“We had to close schools, it was a national decision … to relieve pressure on the NHS and reduce movement, but we do want to see all schools open,” the Education Secretary told Times Radio.
“My enthusiasm to see them open will ensure that if we can get schools open at the earliest moment, then that is what we’ll be doing.
“We’ll give teachers and parents time to prepare … and give them good notice of it. But we want to see school children back.
“We’d aim to give teachers, pupils and parents two weeks’ notice so they’re able to get ready and we’ll always be looking for how we can get schools open for all at the earliest possible moment.”
Mr Williamson said one of the “key criteria” for reopening schools would be whether the pressure on the NHS was lifting.
He brushed off calls by the opposition to resign following a series of policy U-turns.
“My real focus is making sure that children get back into school at the earliest possible opportunity,” he told Sky News.
“Schools were the last to close and schools will very much be the first to reopen.”
He said he intended to give schools a “clear two-week notice period” before they reopened.
Mr Williamson said he hopes the daily testing of pupils and staff in secondary schools for coronavirus will be able to resume.
The programme was “paused” on Wednesday on the advice of Public Health England over concerns about the new variant of the virus.
Mr Williamson told BBC Breakfast: “With the emergence of a new variant what we have been asked to do by Public Health England is that they wanted to look at more detail as to how that was working with the new variant.
“We very much hope that we will be able to restart that programme that worked so well.”