Primary schools could begin to be reopened to all children from June 1, Boris Johnson said this evening.
Education facilities have only been open to the children of key workers since the UK went into lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic on March 23.
But the Prime Minister, speaking to the nation this evening, said primary schools could be in a position to be reopened by June 1 - after the half term.
But it will be phased, My Johnson warned, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Remaining primary school year groups could be added at later dates.
Secondary school pupils in England will not resume lessons at all before the summer, it is understood.
Only Years 10 and 12 are scheduled to return to schools before September in the PM’s lockdown ‘roadmap’.
Government officials said the realistic time period for secondary school lessons to fully resume is September.
Education is devolved and at this stage it is not clear if the government's in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are planning on the same re-opening strategy.
My Johnson said: "At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
"Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.
"And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport."
After laying out three steps to reopening parts of the country - including the hospitality sector in July - Mr Johnson stressed: "Throughout this period of the next two months we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity.
"We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health.
"And I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs.
"It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe social distancing, and to keep that R down."
In a video statement, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford stressed that the advice had "not changed in Wales".
"This evening, the Prime Minister has set out the minor changes, which are proposed to the lockdown rules in England over the next three weeks," Mr Drakeford said.
"I set out the modest changes to the stay-at-home regulations we are making in Wales on Friday. These will come into force tomorrow afternoon.
Should primary school children spend a month in the classroom before the start of next term???
0+ VOTES SO FAR
"Here in Wales, we will change the regulations so people can exercise more often and allow garden centres to open, if they can comply with social distancing.
"Our advice has not changed in Wales."
He said people in Wales must stay at home wherever possible, and remain "local" if they need to leave home for work, exercise or shopping.
Mr Drakeford added that schools in Wales would not "return to normal" on June 1.