Commenting on the guidance document released today by the Government, which details the strategy for easing the lockdown, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"The National Education Union want schools to move to a wider opening as soon as it is safe to do so, but it is not safe yet. This timetable is reckless. This timetable is simply not safe. Staff in schools and colleges are asking today for the evidence behind the decision to select some year groups. Education staff do not feel reassured that the Government is taking these steps with public health in mind. Heads have been inundated with questions and queries from their staff and from parents. The Government has stoked teachers' anxiety and triggered real confusion because the announcement is inconsistent on the importance of social distancing and how or whether it can be achieved in schools.

"This is not fair to anyone and it is not safe to put out a timeline until the public safety test has been met.  This first sketch for schools must be immediately re-drawn, alongside unions and the profession. 

"The NEU is advising our school leader members today that we are in no position to start planning for wider opening yet. This reckless and rushed approach has created a level of uncertainty and stress for school leaders which is simply unmanageable."