Schools could change hours and run Saturday classes

Schools could extend the day to offer sessions early in the morning and into the evening – as well as running lessons on a Saturday – in a bid to help children catch up.

Children in England are returning to school this week after almost six months off thanks to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

That means they have missed months of classroom time and the Education Secretary has said schools could lay on extra lessons to fill in the gap.

Gavin Williamson said: “That might mean extending the school day for some, that might mean Saturday classes for others.

“There are so many different interventions that can really deliver significant results in terms of helping youngsters catch up on the learning that they have lost.”

Dozens of schools across the UK have been hit with coronavirus cases since pupils returned to class.

Some schools have closed their doors just days after reopening while others have told whole classes and year groups to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases of Covid-19.

It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested young people under 25 – particularly those aged 17-21 – have helped propel the rise in positive coronavirus cases across the country in recent days.

Schools in England and Wales began reopening to all year groups last week for the first time since March and the remainder are due to open this week.

In Suffolk, five members of teaching staff at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill tested positive for Covid-19 and the academy closed on Monday on the advice of Public Health England.

Two other members of staff are waiting to hear their coronavirus test results.

In Leicestershire, a member of staff at Castle Rock school in Coalville – which was visited by Boris Johnson on August 26 – has tested positive for Covid-19.

At least 10 schools in Wales are believed to have been affected by coronavirus since reopening.

Cardiff Council announced on Monday that 30 pupils from Ysgol Bro Edern had been asked to self-isolate for 14 days following the confirmation of a case.

The year seven pupils were identified as contacts of a student who tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

A class of 21 pupils at St Gwladys Primary School in Bargoed, Caerphilly, were also told to self-isolate for two weeks after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the return to school for some year groups was delayed at Ysgol Bryn Castell in Bridgend and Ysgol Maesteg after members of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Liverpool City Council said eight schools have had positive cases of Covid-19 – and it confirmed the year 11 “bubble” at Liverpool College was told to self-isolate after one pupil tested positive.

In Wiltshire, all 160 pupils in year nine at St Augustine’s Catholic College in Trowbridge were told to self-isolate after a student tested positive.

Wiltshire Council said all “precautionary and proper bubble measures” were followed but the school had agreed to take the additional step of asking all pupils in the year group to self-isolate for 14 days.

Coronavirus cases have also been confirmed at three schools in the area around Middlesbrough.

St Benedict’s RC Primary School in Redcar, St Aidan’s CE Primary School in Hartlepool and Outwood Academy Ormesby in Middlesbrough have all seen positive cases – but they will remain open.

The JCB Academy in Rocester, Staffordshire, closed on Friday after a pupil tested positive for coronavirus – and around 100 students were told to self-isolate.

.