REOPENING schools to all pupils at once is "not safe", according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Wales' gradual re-introduction of classroom learning came in for criticism from the Welsh Conservatives, but Mr Drakeford remained steadfast.

In England all schools are scheduled to go back on March 8.

However, the majority of secondary school pupils in Wales will not return until after Easter.

The plan for Wales is to see “all of our primary age children start to return to their classrooms from March 15”.

That is according to education minister Kirsty Williams speaking earlier this week.


Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservatives leader in the Senedd asked whether schools are a priority, with Mr Drakeford replying they are his government's top priority.

At First Minister's Questions, Mr Davies asked: "How can you allow, for schoolchildren to remain out of school and be opening up other parts of the economy by lifting the restrictions?"

Mr Drakeford said: "We will return students to schools as fast as it is safe to do so.

"The advice we have is that it would not be safe to do what he is suggesting.

"Now, if it is the policy of the Conservative Party in Wales to return children to conditions that are not safe for them or for their staff, then let him say so.

"This government will not do that. We will follow the science, whatever happens elsewhere.

"The science is you must return children in tranches and you must pause between each one."

There have been calls to vaccinate teachers as children return to the classroom - the youngest children returned to face-to-face learning on Monday - however education minister Kirsty Williams and deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones said this would be unlikely to happen.