BORIS Johnson has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn on his move to get pupils back to school in England at the start of next month.

The Prime Minister announced some primary classes would restart on June 1 when he unveiled his controversial “stay alert” plan to ease the lockdown south of the Border and encourage more people back to work.

He said: “At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.”

But after trade unions, councils and headteachers raised safety concerns, ministers have now been forced to backtrack.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday conceded schools may not take a “uniform” approach to returning on June 1.

“I don’t think any of us want to put either children or our dedicated teaching staff in any danger at all, and the question of being safe is clearly paramount,” he told the BBC.

“So we’re all working towards June 1 and planning for that return, but I accept the point that there may well be issues from employers that need to be addressed which might not mean we’ll see a uniform approach on June 1.”

He added: “It really depends on the views of employers. A lot of councils are direct employers of teaching staff, their views are clearly very important.

“I’m not going to sit here and pretend that suddenly on June 1 everything will be uniform, I don’t know, it’s my hope.

“But these conversations need to continue and we need to listen very carefully to the concerns of employers and staff.”

Buckland told Sky News it was a “mixed picture” on whether schools would reopen to certain year groups by June 1.

“We always said that June 1 was conditional, not just on the R rate, but on the need to make places of work safe.

“I’m hearing what’s being said by a range of different employers and representatives of our brilliant teachers, who are already working with key workers’ families and vulnerable children to provide education services – let’s not forget that.”

A survey of 20,000 parents in England by found that 62% of the parents believe it won’t be safe to return to school or any form of childcare until at least September. A further 10% stated they don’t think it will be safe until October 2020.

As is the case in Scotland, school hubs in England have been open to for key workers’ children through lockdown. A survey of nearly 29,000 NASUWT members across England found nine in 10 teachers were not confident that the proposed social distancing measures will protect their health or the health of pupils.