However, the masks will currently only need to be worn in corridors and other communal areas and in areas under local enhanced lockdown restrictions. Head teachers in any secondary school will also have the ‘flexibility’ to introduce masks in their schools if they ‘believe that it is right in their particular circumstances’.
The shift in stance follows the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for over-12s to wear face masks.
Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: ‘At each stage we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice.’
Prime minister Boris Johnson added: ‘We'll look at the changing medical evidence as we go on. If we need to change the advice then of course we will.’
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The announcement follows on from Scotland's Education Secretary, John Swinney, announcing on Tuesday that all children over the age of 12 will have to wear face masks.