We know that the longer children are kept away from the classroom, the greater the harm to their education, to their life opportunities and indeed their mental, physical and social wellbeing. For disadvantaged children, this harm is sadly even greater.
There is growing medical evidence that the risk to individual children from Covid-19 is extremely small and the Government is listening and taking onboard the advice of a vast range of medical professionals from which there is now a growing scientific consensus. We want to get schools back to normal in a safe way, and so have taken measures to do this.
Now that we are making progress in restricting the spread of the virus, I am pleased that schools across the country are reopening. Primary schools are welcoming back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. As of 15 June secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges have been able to provide some face-to-face contact for students in Year 10 and Year 12 to help them prepare for exams next year.
We have shared guidance to help schools make the preparations necessary to reopen to these years and will also issue guidance for how schools can open more widely in September. While the Government acknowledges that it may be difficult to socially distance in schools, I hope that schools will make the necessary preparations that we set out ready for schools to open more widely in September.