Schools could open before Easter, Gavin Williamson has suggested, saying he will give a two-week warning to headteachers. The Education Secretary said he "would certainly hope" that children would be back in the classroom by early April, adding that he wants this to happen at the "earliest possible opportunity". It is the first time Mr Williamson has hinted at a possible timeline for the reopening of schools, and comes after Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer, suggested schools in some parts of the country will reopen sooner than those in others. Primary and secondary schools were ordered to close at the start of the month to all but the children of key workers and the most vulnerable youngsters. Announcing the latest national lockdown on January 4, Boris Johnson said schools would need to remain shut until the February half-term at the earliest. On Thursday, Mr Williamson said a key factor in determining when schools could reopen would be whether pressures on the NHS had eased sufficiently. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that headteachers will be given "absolutely proper notice" about when they need to prepare to reopen, adding that a "clear two-week notice period" will be factored in so schools have time to prepare for pupils' return. "Schools were the last to close, schools will be the first to open," the Education Secretary said. "I want to see that as soon as the scientific and health advice is there to open at the earliest possible stage, and I would certainly hope that that would be before Easter. "Any decision to reopen schools to all children – as all decisions in terms of schools – will be based on the best health advice and the best scientific advice."