Boris Johnson tried to suppress a growing school rebellion as hundreds of headmasters continue to enforce classroom mask-wearing.
The Prime Minister urged secondary staff to follow new rules that state face coverings were no longer required in lessons.
He thinks it’s important that children receive face to face education and can enjoy a normal experience in the classroom.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman added that the Prime Minister also believes that schools should follow the latest guidance and that they’ve been clear that they’ve removed the need for face masks to be worn in classrooms and they will remove advice for face masks to be worn in communal areas from January 27.
His intervention comes as families complain that schools across England are still insisting on masks during lessons as precautions against COVID.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has warned that the Department for Education officials will be in contact with schools that refuse to ditch face coverings. He will also personally vet any plans to bring back masks in schools in places struck by COVID outbreaks.
In a letter to MPs, Nadhim Zahawi said he’d kept his promise not to retain masks for a day longer than it was necessary. However, he agreed with public health chiefs that in the event of extraordinary local COVID spikes, they would consult with him before recommending the reintroduction of face coverings in schools.
In a statement, Nadhim Zahawi said banishing masks would ensure children could enjoy a normal experience in the classroom.
The DfE doesn’t have a legal means to force secondaries to follow the new advice, as the introduction of masks wasn’t legally binding either, but it expects schools to stick to the new guidance unless there are truly exceptional grounds.
A DfE source said officials would make it apparent to schools the expectation that students don’t wear masks.
The source said it’s a friendly chat if required and they didn’t want children to wear masks, but would work sensitively with any schools that are outliers to deliver that message.
Campaign group UsForThem said it had been contacted by hundreds of parents whose children’s schools are choosing to keep masks in class.
A spokesman said that the Department for Education needed to mandate that masks are purely voluntary at the choice of the child and can’t be enforced, required or strongly encouraged in school, but the National Education Union insisted that heads who kept coverings will have used professional judgment.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, said Whitehall micromanagement was utterly extreme if not bizarre.
This is nothing more than control by teachers, and the face nappy is nothing more than an instrument of suppression and fostering fear.
Schools are so weird, paranoid and deluded and some are making parents wear masks outdoors and all the teachers appear to be mask obsessed, but the government gave out a lot of mixed ambiguous messages. For months we’ve been ordered and strong-armed into wearing masks, and now it’s the total opposite, and this must be extremely confusing and unsettling for young people of any age where they seek clear guidance and instructions from trusted adults.
The thing about these teachers – they don’t care about educating your children, and enforcing mask-wearing just shows they believe they have all the power but they don’t because all children should be permitted to live freely, but you see the archaic education is where the brainwashing begins and our system is no longer fit for purpose.
But apart from teaching, perhaps Boris Johnson should also demand that GP surgeries get back to normal because at the moment the whole of the NHS is constant with COVID excuses.