Gavin Williamson went out of his way to stress the benefits of going back to school on 1 June but mindful of the fact they need to get teachers on board if that is to work.
He stressed the benefits of letting children mix with their peers, particularly the benefits on their mental health.
The education secretary said they had been listening to the unions, which oppose the measure, adding that the longer schools were closed, the more children would miss out.
He didn’t want to say anything confrontational, and it doesn’t seem the row has escalated. But there was no shift in the government’s position.
There are mixed messages from government, governors and unions – so teachers and parents will be wondering who to listen to.