June 13, 2020 / 9:42 PM / a month ago

UK PM working for all schools to open in September

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a daily briefing to update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 10, 2020. Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is working with Education Minister Gavin Williamson to ensure all schools can open in September and to provide support packages to help children catch up on lost learning, his office said on Saturday.

Detailed work is underway with schools, councils and unions to make sure all children are able to return in September if it is safe to do so, a Downing Street source said.

Schools shut to most pupils in March due to the coronavirus pandemic but selected age groups have been able to return since the beginning of June, although some educators decided not to re-open because they said it was not safe.

The decision to gradually re-open schools has divided opinion, with Britain suffering one of the world’s worst death tolls from COVID-19 and some critics warning of the need for caution to prevent a second wave of the virus.

Johnson has asked for measures to be drawn up to help children over the summer and further into the future, said the statement. For social justice reasons help was especially needed for those who had less support at home, it added.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Holmes

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