Boris Johnson pledged to keep schools open for the new year despite concerns about a January Omicron surge, and its possible impact on Britain’s hospitals.

Nadhim Zhawi, the Education Secretary has been informed by the Prime Minister that he is determined to have children in school again after the festive break. 

They are believed to communicate regularly about how to keep children in school while preventing the mutant strain from resurgent after the holidays. 

According to Mr Johnson, Mr Zahawi believe education should be the number one priority within Government. School closures are currently not being considered. 

This news is a relief for teachers, parents and pupils who were in chaos after the January government made a new turn on guidance that allowed primary schools to stay open. 

Unions were concerned that schools could be forced to make decisions about whether to open or not by the government and would therefore call on them to inform their head teachers promptly and clearly what they can expect from the government.

A source close to Zahawi informed the Times, however: “There’s a shared commitment across governments to make sure they [schools]Keep your eyes open.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi

Boris Johnson (right), and Nadhim Zhawi (right), Education Secretary have both pledged to keep schools in operation during the New Year, despite worries about a January Omicron spike and potential impacts on Britain’s hospitals.

The Prime Minister has told Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi he is 'absolutely determined' to see children back in the classroom following the festive break. [File image]

Nadhim Zhawi, the Education Secretary has been informed by the Prime Minister that he is determined to have children in school again after the festive break. [File image]

After SAGE warned the UK that it was about to reopen, fears have grown for January’s return to school. Expect to be hospitalized in large numbers by Covids, and this could even surpass the last winter’s peak despite Omicron being less severe.

In minutes from a meeting on December 23 published last night, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned that the peak on hospital admissions ‘may be comparable to or higher than previous peaks’ – including the second wave in January.

In London, now regarded as the UK’s Omicron ‘ground zero’, there were 386 new Covid hospital admissions on December 22, according to the latest NHS data.

Though they are still a far cry from the 850 admissions achieved at the peak of the second wave in January, they mark a 92 per cent rise on the figure last week, and are within touching distance of the Government’s threshold of 400 for further lockdown curbs. 

Reports have claimed ministers are watching hospitalisation numbers in the capital, with a two-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown set to be imposed if daily numbers surpass 400

Ministers, according to some reports are monitoring hospitalisations in London. A two-week lockdown is being imposed on those who exceed 400 daily.

Scores of pupils across England were already sent home early for their Christmas holiday before the scheduled break because of staff shortages caused by illness and Covid-related isolation.

Welsh officials have already delayed the spring term for schoolchildren. Instead, staff will get two days planning time to arrange alternative distance learning. 

This prompted unions and other organizations to ask the government to notify schools by January before term ends. 

Geoff Barton (General Secretary of Association of School and College Leaders) stated that the government had asked schools and colleges to review their contingency planning during the final week of terms in order to make sure they are ready for the Omicron-Covid risk.

“It is crucial that the government promptly communicates with schools and colleges about the implementation of any additional measures. The government has not had a great record in either area. 

Teachers and parents were confused by operational guidance provided for schools in the government’s hands. It appeared that each school was responsible for its own decisions.

The document said that schools and trusts must work with parents and caregivers (future reference to parents should include carers), staff, and unions in order to agree on the best approach for each individual’s circumstances).

Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change published a blog this week in which he stated: “We believe that the government needs to take additional urgent actions to ensure the safety of the next school term.” 

“It should authorize vaccinations for all children aged 5-11 years and speed up the current vaccine program for teens, considering that less than half of those aged 11-15 and 71% of 16-17 year-olds received one dose. 

Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman warned that many of the youngest children's progress and development 'faltered' amid the pandemic

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector at Ofsted, warned that the epidemic had impacted many children’s development and progress.

This comes just as Amanda Spielman (Ofsted’s chief inspector) releases her annual report on the disastrous effects of the pandemic on education. 

Ms Spielman said that most children have suffered because of school closings and lockdowns. Young people are now experiencing loneliness, boredom, and misery for the last 18 months.