Education secretary Gavin Williamson has vowed to “move heaven and earth” to avoid shutting schools again – which could include lessons taking place outdoors.

As children return to school after the summer holidays, the minister vowed to do what he could to ensure that children stay in the classroom.

This morning (September 2) he told LBC radio: “I will move heaven and earth to make sure that we aren’t in a position of having to close schools.”

However, the education secretary did not rule out classes and assemblies having to take place outside in the event of coronavirus outbreaks in schools.

But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is certainly not something that we’d be expecting to see an awful lot of, especially in autumn and winter.”

After being asked repeatedly whether he believed that a return to classrooms would lead to a spike in rates, he told Sky News: “This is why we’re doing the testing programme and we’re encouraging children to take part in it, parents, and of course teachers and support staff as well.

“This is a way of rooting out Covid.

“We’re trying to strike that constant, sensible balance of actually giving children as normal experience in the classroom as possible, but also recognising we’re still dealing with a global pandemic.”