SCHOOLS will reopen in full in September, the education secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed.

Restrictions on group sizes will be lifted, allowing all schools, nurseries and colleges to open to all students.

However schools will be asked to keep children in class or year group sized ‘bubbles’ and encourage older children to keep their distance from each other and staff.

Mr Williamson said: “I know these past three months have been some of the most challenging that schools have faced. What they have achieved to make sure that young people are kept safe and can continue to learn during this period is remarkable, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

“Nothing can replace being in the classroom, so ever since schools, colleges and nurseries closed to most children, we have been working hard to ensure they can reopen as soon as possible.

“I want to reassure parents and families that we are doing everything we can to make sure schools, nurseries, colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for children and staff, and will continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that is the case.”

All schools are encouraged to implement policies in line with their own risk to ensure pupils can be taught a broad curriculum safely.

Teachers should also distance from each other and older students where possible, cleaning should be more frequent and contact in corridors should be minimised.

Reacting to the announcement CEOs of Aspirations Academies Trust, who look after Magna, Jewell and Ocean Academies, Steve and Paula Kenning said: “Assuring that this return is as safe as is possible, following government guidance at all times, is our key and critical priority.

“With the support and guidance of the central team at Aspirations, each of our principals is making excellent plans to ensure that this happens.

“Parents can expect some adaptations, such as staggered start and end times to the day, to ensure that everyone observes the correct guidance at all times.”

Meanwhile, Bournemouth School for Girls headteacher Alistair Brien said he had been planning to return in September.

He said: “We have been planning for some time for a full return in September and are glad finally to have the official go ahead, subject to any further spikes.

“There are no real surprises but at least there is the recognition that social distancing with a full return is simply not possible.

“We will make some adaptations to the school day, for example with assemblies, but I am not so sure just how feasible different start and finish times really are, when pupils are travelling from all over the area.”