PARENTS across Scotland are eagerly anticipating confirmation that schools will go back full time next month.

Primary and secondary schools across the country closed their doors back in March to all but a few children.

But with coronavirus in Scotland being suppressed to very low levels, things are looking optimistic regarding a return to the classroom.

Yesterday, education secretary John Swinney provided an update on schools.

Here's four key things we learned:


The Scottish Government yesterday announced £50million of funding to employ hundreds of teachers and support staff to help schools re-open.

An extra £20million was also pledged to cover other health protection costs.

The funding will equate to around 850 teachers and 200 support staff.

But as Labour’s education spokesperson, Iain Gray, pointed out, that accounts for only half a new member of staff per school across Scotland.

August 11 return?

Councils and schools have been working to the August 11 return date for some time.

But the Scottish Government will not formally announce the August 11 return date until July 30.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly stressed that reducing the infection rate is crucial to the reopening of schools, with the First Minister earlier in the week suggesting no more lockdown changes will be made until pupils are back in the classroom.

Mr Swinney stressed that in Scotland, the infection rate is “reducing by 30 per cent each week”, but a sudden surge in cases over the next few weeks could shift the Scottish Government’s confidence that it is safe to re-open schools.

Glasgow Times: Some pupils may have to socially distanceSome pupils may have to socially distance

Social distancing

Mr Swinney gave parents some much-needed details about the social distancing guidance that schools will be asked to follow – but some questions still remain over how this will work in practice.

While primary pupils will not have to socially distance when they return on August 11, all being well, secondary schools will be told to enforce physical distancing rules “where possible”.

Mr Swinney said this was due to the scientific advice on social distancing being “less clear” for older pupils.

Meanwhile secondary schools will be asked to adjust the layout of classrooms and manage flows of people in and out of buildings – but with a catch.

This social distancing rule in secondary schools will be “subject always to this not reducing capacity within the school”.

Youth clubs

As well as earmarking £50 million for school staff and £20 million to help councils meet extra costs in re-opening classrooms, £3 million of previously announced money will be used to support youth work in connection with schools being re-opened.

Mr Swinney said this funding has been announced as the sector has “continued to support and engage children and young people through the pandemic”, highlighting the use of digital technology to help mitigate the impact of the lockdown on young people’s mental health.