Schools facing longer days and shorter summer holidays, Gavin Williamson says

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Schools are facing shorter summer holidays and longer days, education secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed.

He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday the Government is considering a "whole range of different" proposals to help kids catch up after the pandemic.

Williamson said: "We're looking at holidays, we're looking at lengthening the school day, we're looking at a whole range of measures."

He told Sky News ministers were also considering "enhancing the support we give to teachers, supporting them in their professional development, making sure they can be the very best of themselves".

The minister revealed Sir Kevan Collins, the government's education recovery commissioner, has been asked to "leave no stone unturned" in coming up with plans for a catch-up programme.

"We've got to look at what is going to have the biggest positive impact on children's lives," he continued.

"That's the approach that we're taking and that's what we're looking at how we can improve the outcomes for children."

Mr Williamson spoke ahead of all pupils to school in England on Monday.

Most youngsters have been stuck with remote learning as schools only took in vulnerable children and those of key workers during the third coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the full reopening of schools "marks a truly national effort to beat this virus" and the beginning of lockdown being eased.

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He added: "It is because of the determination of every person in this country that we can start moving closer to a sense of normality – and it is right that getting our young people back into the classroom is the first step."

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said children have endured "real slog" with schools putting "extraordinary efforts" into remote learning.

She said: "Children on the receiving end are bored, lonely, miserable, anxious and really, really want the normal experience again.

"I think the overwhelming thing we're seeing is the vast majority of parents, the vast majority of children and the vast majority of teachers are really happy to be going back to school.

"I really hope the whole paraphernalia of masks and testing is only necessary for a short time … I love the idea of children being able to come back in summer term able to see everybody fully."

But she warned: "There is a minority, let's hope it's not too large a minority, whose problems have increased. Things like eating disorders, things like self harming… everybody needs to be alert to these."

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