SCHOOLCHILDREN will have different dates when they return from their Christmas holidays.

Following the government's tiers announcement, there has been a change in start dates.

The majority of primary schools will return on January 4 except those in areas with the highest Covid infection rates.

On the same day, the children of key workers and vulnerable children will be able to return to secondary schools.

Despite this, secondary students in exam years will only be able to return to class on January 11.

All other secondary school students will be out of school until January 18, when they will be allowed to return.

Announcing a U-turn on the planned staggered reopening, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said students in exam years will return to secondary schools a week later than planned, from January 11.

Other secondary and college students will go back full-time on January 18, he told Parliament.

And primary schools in a “small number of areas” where Covid-19 infection rates are the highest will not reopen for face-to-face teaching to all pupils as planned next week.

Mr Williamson told MPs in the Commons that the Government had to make an “immediate adjustment” to its plans for the reopening of schools in early January.

He said: "We must always act swiftly when circumstances change.

"The evidence about the new Covid variant and rising infection rates have required some immediate adjustment to our plans for the new term."

He added: "The latest study we have from Public Health England is that Covid infections among children are triggered by changes in the community rate.

"The study also says that the wider impact of school closures on children’s development would be significant.

"I’m quite clear that we must continue to do all we can to keep children in school."