SCHOOLCHILDREN should face the front in class to stop coronavirus spreading, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson insists.
He told Tory MPs he’s concerned pupils are facing each other as they sit around tables in classrooms.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
He wants to “get the class to pay attention to the teacher” by facing forward when school resumes fully in September.
Mr Williamson wants to double the size of teaching “bubbles” from 15 to
The proposal could see social distancing to stem the Covid infection rate axed in schools.
And Mr Williamson accused teaching unions of creating an “unholy alliance” with the Labour Party to stop schools reopening fully.
‘COMMON SENSE APPROACH’
Speaking to the influential 1922 Committee of MPs, Mr Williamson said all education authorities in Britain wanted to reopen schools, The Times reports,
He insisted his plan to make children face the front of the classroom was a
“good traditional teaching method” and a “commonsense approach to
But David James, deputy head of Bryanston school in Dorset, said: “Facing forward sounds like a policy dreamt up in a hurriedly convened sub-committee populated with people who have never worked in a school.
“Schools are places of interaction, of children and teachers working in
groups, moving around, exchanging ideas through words and body
“What happens when they break this preposterous rule?
“What are the sanctions? Do we attach blinkers to them? You have to accept that if schools are fully back then any attempt at social distancing will evaporate.”
Britain’s coronavirus death toll hit 43,230 on Thursday as 149 more deaths were reported.
Last week, Mr Williamson said the Government is committed to bringing “every child back, in every year group, in every school” next term.
He claimed classes could return to full numbers by increasing the school ‘protective bubbles’ kids are placed in from 15 to 30.
He told the No10 press conference: “We’ve been creating bubbles of children in the classroom, creating a protective environment for those children.
“Currently that is at 15, what we would be looking at doing is expanding those bubbles to include the whole class.”
He added: “We recognise there is still going to have to be protective measures put in place to make sure children are safe and make sure that teachers and all those who work in school are safe as well, and that is why we are going to be issuing further guidance in the next two weeks.”
Boris Johnson has also vowed to get all children back to full-time school in September.
The Prime Minister paved the way for the great summer return by insisting it was time for the nation to stop living in fear of coronavirus and to get fed-up children back in the classroom.
He said: “I want a world in which — as far as possible and provided we can make the classrooms safe, which I think we can — every child, every pupil, every student is back in September.
Beach brawl as up to 200 sunbathers fight in front of horrified families
“I’m sure we can get it done.”
Millions of pupils will have missed more than four months of school come September.
Two million have done little or no work since March, a study found.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.