FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford has said schools in Wales could reopen at the beginning of next month.

Asked for an indication about when pupils could return, Mr Drakeford told the BBC's Andew Marr Show: "Our advice from the trade unions and from the local education authorities is that you will need three weeks as a minimum from the point that we decide to do that, to when schools can reopen, so we are talking about the beginning of June."

Mr Drakeford said some groups could return earlier than others, using the examples of year-six children who are due to move up to secondary school, and Welsh medium pupils who may not have had opportunities to use the language at home during lockdown.

Mr Drakeford also said work was under way to make sure reopened schools in Wales followed social distancing guidance, and that a phased return starting with priority children was being considered.

He told The Andrew Marr Show: "You certainly can't have schools reopen as they did before and sustain social distancing, and you need it for public health reasons, but you also need it in order to persuade parents and teachers that you are asking young people to come back into an environment that is safe for them."

He added: "If people don't think it's safe to go there, then they'll vote with their feet."

Asked if the number of classrooms would be extended to allow for social distancing, Mr Drakeford said: "I think of this in a phased way. We're not going to have all the children back in all the schools on the first day.

"We get those children in whom we have the greatest priority to begin with, we monitor that carefully, we add more children in as we are confident that we can do that safely.

"And over time we will get back to something like the normal we were used to."

Mr Drakeford defended the decision not to extend coronavirus testing to all care homes in Wales regardless of whether there is a confirmed case or not.

He said: "The advice we have from our chief medical officer is that if there is no coronavirus at all, in a care home, then testing all residents and staff would not be the best use of the tests that we have available."

Asked if it had been a mistake for Wales to abandon its 5,000 tests-a-day in April, the First Minister said: "No, it wasn't a mistake. The feeling I had and the feeling reported to me from people in the front line is that the number itself was a distraction.

"Carrying out tests, without a purpose or a point is not a good use of the limited resources that we have."