Boris Johnson hints at U-turn on face masks in English schools

Prime minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Appledore Shipyard in Devon. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Prime minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Appledore Shipyard in Devon. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has hinted his government might u-turn on rules regarding the wearing of face masks in schools across England.

Johnson said his government would change the advice on face coverings in schools 'if we need to'.

Currently, pupils across England are not expected to wear masks when they return to school next week.

A school pupil wearing a face mask. Pupils wearing masks is an option that should be kept under revi

A school pupil wearing a face mask. Pupils wearing masks is an option that should be kept under review, a union has said, despite the Education Secretary insisting the measure is not needed as schools in England prepare to reopen; Owen Humphreys/PA Wire


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But in Scotland, where students have already returned to class, pupils aged 12 and over will be required cover up in crowded areas around their school.

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Speaking on Tuesday, the prime minister said: 'There's far more risk to the wellbeing of our children from not going to school than there is from the disease.

'So that's my priority. On the issue of whether or not to wear masks in some contexts we will look at the changing medical evidence as we go on.

'If we need to change the advice then of course we will.'

Johnson's comment marks a shift in the government's position on face coverings in schools.

Yesterday, a spokesperson claimed there were 'no plans' to review the guidance.

They added: 'We are conscious of the fact that it would obstruct communication between teachers and pupils.'

If Johnson goes ahead with the change, it would be the government's second major U-turn in eight days.

Last week, education secretary Gavin Williamson announced he was scrapping the way A-Levels were calculated after almost 40% of marks were downgraded as a result of exam regulator Ofqual's algorithm aimed at standardising results.

MORE: Tory education minister gives his handling of A-level results 'A-' despite 11th hour change to the way they are calculated

National newspaper The Daily Mail branded Johnson and Williamson 'dunces' on their front page a day after the U-turn.

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