The Government’s announcement later this week will outline exceptions to the rules, including for children with certain medical conditions or from households in which someone is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, it is understood.
But some headteachers urged the Government to close the loophole that allows parents without a valid excuse to escape fines.
“If it’s deemed safe enough for schools to return, parents should have an obligation to send their children to classes,” said Rob Campbell, the CEO of the Morris Education Trust, a multi-academy trust in Cambridgeshire. “There have to be consequences for not doing so.
“It could be another 18 months until a vaccine comes along, so are we really saying children can be kept off school until then? That’s madness.
“I do fear that many heads – especially of smaller schools – may fall victim to the ‘pester power’ of parents and give in. So I think the Government should make sure there is little room for manoeuvre in the rules.”
The Telegraph understands that the Government plans to scrap social distancing in schools, while “bubbles” will be expanded to enable all pupils to return to their classes full-time.
Pupils will not be expected to keep two metres or even one metre apart at all times while in school buildings. Instead, schools will be asked to focus on limiting the extent to which children mix outside their class or year group and on implementing strict handwashing.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by the scientific evidence.
“We are working across Government and with the sector to ensure plans for a full return in September are in place, and we will publish further information in the coming days.”