WELSH language schools could be amongst the first in the UK to reopen in a phased programme beginning next month, it is claimed.

Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, said pupils learning in Welsh but who may not have the chance to use the language at home during lockdown could be back at their desks at the beginning of June.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, he said children who are due to enter secondary school would also be prioritised.

Drakeford said: "Our advice from the trade unions and from the local education authorities is that you will need three weeks as a minimum from the point that we decide to do that, to when schools can reopen, so we are talking about the beginning of June."

He went on: "I think of this in a phased way. We're not going to have all the children back in all the schools on the first day.

"We get those children in whom we have the greatest priority to begin with, we monitor that carefully, we add more children in as we are confident that we can do that safely.

"Over time, we will get back to something like the normal we were used to."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: We'll decide when Scots schools open – not Boris Johnson

Responding to his comments, Eithne Hughes, director of the Association of School and College Leaders Cymru, later called for "caution" against fixing a date for school reopening.

She said: "The First Minister has indicated that schools could reopen at the beginning of June. We would caution against fixing a date in stone at this stage and to make sure the conditions are right first of all.

"We are happy to plan towards a proposed date but we would urge that it is clearly stated from the outset that it is moveable if more time is needed.

"Exactly how this is managed will need to be guided by public health and scientific advice to ensure that pupils, parents and staff can have confidence that it is safe to return to schools."

The National asked the Scottish Government about the implications for Gaelic-medium education here.

A spokesperson said: “Schools will remain closed until further notice due to the impact of Covid-19 – however, this is under constant review.

“Our Covid-19 Education Recovery Group has been convened to provide advice to ministers and local government leaders on education policy and delivery in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic.

"The group, chaired by the Deputy First Minister, will provide a forum for input from across the sector into decisions around how schools can be re-opened. Decisions on when schools should reopen will be guided by the ongoing scientific analysis of Covid-19.”