CHILDREN in secondary schools and college students will be required to continue wearing face masks in class after the Easter break, the Government has confirmed.

Pupils will have to wear the masks, as they have since schools reopened on March 8, once they return from the school holidays.

A review took place over Easter to decide if masks in classrooms should be removed, and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed earlier today they would remain, saying students have done a "great job" in adapting to Covid-secure schooling.

However, it is expected face coverings won't be required in classrooms or other communal areas in schools and colleges in England once Stage 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown comes into force on May 17.

At the weekend, teachers unions warned the Government not to rush the removal of masks in school and said it could lead to a rise in cases.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Schools and students have done a great job adapting to Covid-secure guidance and working hard to make sure it doesn’t impact learning.

“We obviously all want to get back to facemask-free classrooms and we will do this in line with the latest scientific data while balancing the interests of students, teachers and the wider community.”

In the joint letter sent over the Easter weekend, the NEU, NASUWT, NAHT, the GMB and Unison said there is a “strong scientific consensus” that face masks can and should be part of measures to suppress transmission of Covid-19.

In the letter they said: "The Government should not rush into changing this policy at short notice without careful consideration of the scientific evidence surrounding the wearing of face coverings in schools.

“Our view is that the current evidence does not justify a change in policy on face coverings at the start of next term and we see little advantage in changing policy so soon.

“We have also received feedback to suggest that a significant number of pupils, parents and staff have reported feeling safer as a result of wearing face coverings in schools."