Parents face huge fines if they refuse to send their kids to school as they reopen this week.

Starting from September 1, parents could be forced to pay a £120 fine.

The fine would be used as a "last resort", according to schools minister Nick Gibb, quoted in The Sun.

Mr Gibbs warned of the risk to kids' mental health and said it could be "quite damaging" if they do not return.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "Schools are mandatory in this country.

"So all the rules about attendance will apply from today.

"Fines have always been the last resort for headteachers but it is a tool to make sure young people are attending school."

Parents could face a huge fine for refusing to send kids to school

The outlet reported data from YouGov which revealed four in five parents are willing to send their kids to school.

Only a fraction are considering not sending them in.

Mr Gibb said: "What the chief medical officers are saying is it's better for children to be in school, the risk of contracting the virus in the school environment is very low.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said it would be a last resort

"But the risk of not being in school can be quite damaging to children's mental health and also their long term prospect of education."

This comes as the UK’s chief medical officer has warned fully reopening schools could send the R rate above 1 and spark a potential second wave.

Containing the coronavirus pandemic depends on keeping the R number – the rate at which the infection spreads – as low as possible.

Professor Chris Whitty said there were “no risk-free options” for the Government.

The infection risk for children is considered to be low but with 453,000 teachers returning to work and parents gathering at school gates before and after school localised outbreaks may be inevitable.

Professor Whitty has issued a joint statement with three of his colleagues saying they believe say the overall benefits of getting children back into classes after nearly six months at home will outweigh the dangers.