The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the government.
There had been an aim for all primary pupils to spend four weeks in school before the summer break.
But it is no longer thought to be feasible and instead schools will be given “flexibility” over whether or not to admit more pupils.
Head teachers’ leaders said it had never been a practical possibility.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock conceded at Monday’s Downing Street briefing that secondary schools in England may not fully reopen until September “at the earliest”.
How many pupils are going back to school?
Primary pupils in England in Reception, Year 1 and 6 began to return to school last week – and figures published by the Department for England have shown how many attended, based on 4 June.
It shows that about three quarters of those who could have returned to school were still at home – reflecting that almost half of schools were not open for extra pupils.
- 52% of primary schools opened for extra pupils
- 11% of primary pupils were in school – about a quarter of those year groups who could have gone back
- 659,000 children were in all schools, including children of key workers, almost 7% who would normally attend, up from 2.6% before half term
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a cabinet meeting later to discuss the next steps to ease lockdown restrictions, before Education Secretary Gavin Williamson delivers a statement to the House of Commons on the reopening of schools.
There are separate rules for managing the threat of coronavirus in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Children in England began returning to primary schools in a phased process last week, with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils heading back first.
Mr Williamson will give an indication later of how many more pupils in England have returned, but he is also expected to say that primary schools will no longer have to prepare for the return of all pupils, as previously proposed by the government.
The “pressure” to get ready will be removed, with heads and governors being free to decide whether they can bring in more classes.