Face masks are set to stay in the classroom as schools and councils prepare to defy government guidance, The Telegraph has found. Bury, Bolton and Bedford are among the councils advising that school children should continue to wear masks, despite the Prime Minister announcing that from Monday this is no longer required. It comes as the country’s largest teaching union has written to headteachers, chief executives of multi-academy trusts and council chiefs urging them to “actively encourage” pupils to wear masks in lessons. The parent campaign group UsForThem said it has received reports from hundreds of parents that their children’s schools will continue to require the wearing of masks next week. “We are shocked to see how many schools and councils are ignoring the Government’s guidance,” said Molly Kingsley, co-founder of UsForThem. “Parents are devastated about this, it is really hard to overstate their anger." This week Bury and Bolton councils wrote to parents explaining that schools have been asked to "retain the use of face coverings, as per the current arrangements, until further notice”. Both councils told parents it would be “irresponsible” to wait until there were higher levels of new Covid-19 variants before taking action. Bury Council said that while its infection rate is below the national average and the lowest in Greater Manchester, they are nonetheless taking a "safety first approach”. Bedford Borough Council said it has written to schools to recommend they "continue to require face covering use". Cllr Louise Jackson, the council's lead on health and wellbeing, said this decision was made in light of "rapidly rising rate of infections, particularly in our younger population". North Yorkshire’s director of public health said schools in Selby should continue with masks “as a result of the high transmission rates seen in the area in recent weeks”. The council insist it is taking a “common sense approach”, and said although rates are reducing, they continue to fluctuate and are three times above the England average.