School leaders have stated than plans to return to classrooms must have support from the profession.

The Welsh Government has published a document setting out how it is considering the next phase for schools, in response to Covid-19.

Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, described the working document as “setting out our current thinking” for how schools, other education settings and childcare providers’ operations will change to allow social distancing and other factors.

Most schools have been closed since the start of the pandemic, with some open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

The Welsh Government is working with scientists, public health experts, teachers, education providers, trade unions and local authorities to consider the options for the next phase for schools.

Kirsty Williams said: “Nothing would make me happier than seeing our classrooms full again. But I want to be clear that this framework does not – and I will not - set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school. Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do.

"This will not be one decision but a series of decisions over time increasing, or if need be, decreasing operation. These changes will be complex, with many different considerations. I want the working document to be a stimulus for wider discussion and feedback."

She added: “When we are ready to move into that next phase, I will ensure that there is enough time for preparation and for staff to carry out any necessary training.”

Laura Doel, director of NAHT Cymru, (National Association of Head Teachers) said: “We are heartened to hear Education Minister Kirsty Williams state unequivocally that she will not set an arbitrary date for a return to school before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus.

"To make any decision influenced by other factors would be irresponsible and could have a detrimental impact on children, school staff, families and the wider communities.

“The only way to ensure a successful and sustainable return to school is to have the support of the profession. Without it, public confidence in any plan will crumble."