The reopening of schools in January is still uncertain despite senior members of the cabinet insisting it will go ahead as planned.

The Times reports that prime minister Boris Johnson is under pressure from scientific advisers and members of cabinet  to rethink the return to school as coronavirus cases reached 40,000 in one day for the first time.

The newspaper says that health secretary Matt Hancock and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested at a meeting hosted by Downing Street that the reopening of schools might have to be delayed.

The school term, Mr Gove said, could be extended into the Easter holidays to make up for any delayed start.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson, is so far sticking to his guns on reopening, insisting thousands would fall behind if youngsters have to stay at home.

At the time of the writing, the current plan is for all primary pupils to return at the beginning of the week beginning January 4, along with Year 11 and Year 13 pupils.

Other secondary pupils will learn online from home for the first week, while a testing regime is rolled out in schools with the help of the army.

Meanwhile, a survey by the NEU teachers’ union has revealed that the vast majority of teachers do not feel safe returning to the classroom in the new year, with cases at a record high.