Along with most parents and teachers, I want to see children return to school as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

As a former teacher, I know how important a good quality education is to our children, alongside all the social and health benefits that come from attending school regularly.

Every day that schools remain shut, the disadvantage gap widens and vulnerable children risk falling through the cracks.

But that doesn’t mean we should open schools before it’s actually safe to do so.

Last week I secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, where I was able to ask the Secretary of State for Education to clarify “what he thinks ‘safe’ actually means?”

He made a statement to the House, setting out that the Government wanted some year groups to return to school from June 1.

But he again failed to clarify how they could do safely, how the safety of other teachers and staff would be guaranteed or to agree to publish the advice the Government has been given.

Sadly, the Government had failed to consult with school leaders, teachers and unions on the details of its guidance for reopening schools, and that’s just not good enough.

We all need to be confident that decisions are being made based on public health advice only, and not economic fears.

That’s why I also called on the Government to publish all scientific advice it has received on this issue, and for a guarantee that all children, of all ages, will be given the equipment and funding to learn safely, either at home or in school.

Given this Government’s performance in handling the Covid crisis so far, it is hardly surprising that parents and teachers are questioning the plan.

Reading through the detail of the Government’s guidance, I can see a huge number of problems. Schools are already teaching children of key workers and vulnerable children. Some simply won’t have enough separate rooms.

This is just one example of where the guidance appears to be based on hope rather than actual classroom experience.

Our local teachers have already been working hard, teaching children and supporting children learning at home. Many haven’t had a holiday for months.

I know that they will continue to work as hard as they possibly can. But all of us, and particularly the Government, share a responsibility to keep them safe.

My job is to be their voice in Westminster. I will continue to challenge the Government on the detail of their plan and to call on them to publish the evidence.