England school reopening in doubt with ministers divided

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Education secretary under pressure to rethink plan for millions of pupils to return

Plans for millions of pupils in England to begin a staggered return to school from next week hang in the balance as a debate rages within the government over the risk of a surge of infections, with the NHS already buckling under the strain.

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is understood to be mounting a “rearguard action” against what one source described as “senior colleagues” who have been alarmed by advice that reopening schools will make it impossible to keep the R number below one.

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