THE BOSS of a teaching union said the Prime Minister has "failed to learn of his previous mistakes," as an opening date for schools is revealed.

A four-stage plan could see England’s coronavirus restrictions finally lifted by June 21, Boris Johnson has announced.

All pupils in England’s schools are expected to return to class from March 8.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin – with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

However, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union slammed the descion is "not enough"

She said: "The announcement that all pupils will return to English schools on March 8 demonstrates, again, that Boris Johnson has, despite all his words of caution, failed to learn the lessons of his previous mistakes.

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“While cases of Covid infection are falling, along with hospitalisation rates, it remains the case, unfortunately, that cases are three times higher now than when schools reopened last September.

"This fact, alone, should have induced caution rather than, in the words of Nadhim Zahawi an ‘ambitious’ school return which runs the risk of schools, once again, becoming, in the Prime Minister’s words on January 4, a ‘vector of transmission’ into the community.

"This risk is greatly elevated because of the new variants of Covid which are significantly more transmissive.

“Why has the English government not taken the same route as Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland whose cautious, phased approach to school opening will enable their governments to assess the impact a return to the classroom will have on the R rate and to make necessary adjustments to their plans.

“A ‘big bang’ school reopening brings ten million people back into crowded buildings with no social distancing and inadequate ventilation.

"The wearing of face masks by pupils and staff in in secondary school lessons is a welcome measure but it is not, on its own, enough.

"The government has had two months to put extra mitigations in place to stop the growth in infection in schools that was seen from September to December.

"Where are the ventilation units for classrooms? Where are the nightingale classrooms?

"Where is the PHE testing which school leaders could rely upon to give more accurate results?

"It is no good political parties talking about these safeguards when they know very well that they have not been put in place and will not be put in place by March 8.

"Words are cheap. Actions are needed."

The Argus: Phelim Mac Cafferty

It comes after Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty wrote to headteachers and advised them not to reopen as coronavirus infections continue to soar in January.

That was despite the Prime Minister’s advice that primary schools in Brighton and Hove should stay open and that schools are safe.

But within hours of Cllr Mac Cafferty sending a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson over closures, headteachers sent emails to parents to tell them pupils will be kept out of classrooms and will be learning from home.