Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed changes to the coronavirus lockdown rules in England - including for schools.

The new set of rules, which begin this week, include the re-opening of garden centres, the right to exercise as much as you like outdoors and changes in rules around working.

The rules do not apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have the power to determine their own set of rules.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that schools in Scotland are unlikely to be open as early as June 1.

Alongside new altered lockdown measures, Mr. Johnson also outlined his ‘roadmap’ for lifting restrictions in the future, including giving word on when schools might reopen in England.

When will schools reopen?

If ministers are convinced that infection rates are falling, schools will begin to reopen from June 1 “at the earliest”. It would begin with primary pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes.

However, this date is tentative, and subject to a lot of targets being hit in regards to the tackling of coronavirus; Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News primary schools ”won't start until the earliest on June 1 - subject to conditions.”

"If we can't do it by those dates, and if the alert level won't allow it, we will simply wait and go on until we have got it right," said Mr Johnson in his address.

Why are Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 being prioritised?

Dominic Raab said on BBC Breakfast there will be a "phased" approach to reopening primary schools, starting with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils.

But why is that?

Those particular years group together the oldest and some of the youngest in primary schools; Year 6 who would soon be moving to secondary school and the Reception class and Year 1.

Pupils in Year 6 would normally be preparing to undertake their Key Stage 2 assessments were schools still open right now, so the focus on them could be designed to aid them in getting back on track with exams.

Mr Johnson spoke of the ambition of secondary pupils with exams next year getting “at least some time with their teachers before the holidays”.

No official reasoning behind the prioritisation of those particular years, but it could be argued that Reception and Year 1 pupils, being some of the youngest in schools – are the ones most in need of childcare.

Allowing them to go back to school would free up parents to return to their day jobs, something that will be particularly attractive to Boris Johnson as he looks to reopen the economy.

One headteacher expressed concerns about how social distancing could be managed, particularly with younger children.

Bryony Baynes, headteacher of Kempsey Primary School, told Metro: “How on earth are we to manage social distancing between reception and year one pupils when most of them are aged four and five?”

Will it be safe to reopen schools?

Raab told BBC Breakfast the Government “will make sure that we would have clear guidance about how [schools can be reopened] with social distancing, with hygiene.

"The evidence suggests that there's very little, there's much lower risk for young children getting this virus.

"The risk is that you get transmission through children between households... so what we want to do is make sure, and we'll obviously have more evidence by the time we get to June 1, which will be at the earliest, subject to conditions, the point at which we start in a very phased controlled way proceeding.”

However, not everybody is convinced, and the general secretary of teachers' union NASUWT said the profession has "very serious concerns" about children returning to school on June 1.

Patrick Roach told BBC Breakfast: “The Government hasn't come forward with a plan about how schools will ensure that they're safe for pupils and safe for staff to be in from June 1.”

He said there is strong evidence schools are lacking personal protective equipment (PPE), adding: "If you're dealing with five and six-year-olds and 11-year-olds, how to ensure stringent social distancing in that context is a big challenge and Government simply haven't answered that challenge.

"Just in terms of risk assessments, parents will want to know that schools are going to be hygienic, they're going to be safe for their children to be in. And we still don't have any clear standards about what safe cleaning routines would be like within a school context and we need to have that."

Mary Bousted, National Education Union joint general secretary, said: “A study published last week by the University of East Anglia suggested that school closures are the single most effective way of suppressing the spread of the virus.

“We think that the announcement by the government that schools may reopen from June 1 with Reception and Years 1 and 6 is nothing short of reckless."