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Parents face fines if their children don’t go back to school in September

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Gavin Williamson has repeated Boris Johnson’s warning to parents that they face fines if children don’t send their children back to school.

The Education Secretary told LBC Radio: “It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns.

“We do have to get back into compulsory education as part of that, obviously fines sit alongside that.

“Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.”

said advice on how schools will fully reopen in England will be set out “at the end of this week”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “What we will be doing at the end of this week is setting out further advice as to what the full return of all pupils looks like and giving clear steers to how schools should operate.”

In response to a question from a science teacher, he acknowledged efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus will be more challenging in secondary schools.

“It’s going to be more complex within secondary schools,” he said.

Earlier, he said the government was still consulting on how to get children back to school, but said the plans would be unveiled this week.

Asked if there will be a detailed plan this week, Mr Williamson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There will.”

Asked if all social distancing requirements could be removed to allow a total return, he said: “We’re going to take the opportunity to spell out exactly as to how we will see a full return for all children back into school before the end of this week.

“As I’m sure you’ll understand and appreciate at the moment, we’re consulting and talking with different people, whether it’s headteachers, whether it’s unions, whether it’s representative bodies.”

It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed schooling would go back to being a legal requirement from September.

He said: “We need to get the kids back into school.

“I want all pupils back in school in September.”

When asked whether it would be compulsory he replied: “Yes. It’s the law.”

Councils can impose fines of £60 for non-attendance – which doubles if it isn’t paid within 21 days.

The PM last night announced a multi-year school building programme, to start from September next year.

Some £1billion in fresh money will be put towards 50 projects – some of which will break ground in September 2021.

The Department for Education was unable to confirm how many would be ready to start next year, saying more detail would be set out in the next spending review.

Mr Johnson said: “All children deserve the best possible start in life – regardless of their background or where they live.

“As we bounce back from the pandemic, it’s important we lay the foundations for a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, with our younger generations front and centre of this mission.

“This major new investment will make sure our schools and colleges are fit for the future, with better facilities and brand new buildings so that every child gets a world-class education.”

A further £560m will be made available for school repairs this year.

And £200m will be available for repairs to FE colleges – money which had already been announced in the last Budget.

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