THE Government has “no intention” of closing nurseries, the Education Secretary said, as he described how many families rely on early years services.

Gavin Williamson defended his decision amid concerns over the high infection rates of the more transmissible Covid-19 variant.

Speaking to MPs on the Education Select Committee, he said: “I always want to be in a position to ensure that every child can go to school and, as you’ll be aware, transmissibility among those who are youngest is very low compared to all of the settings.

“So, when you’re in a position to keep part of the education system open in the early years, I believe it was the right decision to make because so many families really rely on that nursery provision.

“Those early years are so important.”

Asked whether he would guarantee that nurseries would be kept open, Mr Williamson said there is “no intention” to close them and that the Government has “not received any contrary advice”.

Mr Williamson has previously made u-turns over keeping schools open, exams going ahead, providing free school meals and teacher assessments.