Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘dithering’ over school return :

Scotland’s first minister has been accused of “dithering” over plans to reopen the country’s schools.

Pupils are due to return to a “blended” model of schooling from 11 August that will see learning split between home and the classroom.

There have been concerns about the impact of part-time schooling on working parents, and on children from deprived backgrounds.

It is not yet known how long the blended model will be in place.

Plans being drawn up by councils would have a third of pupils in school at any one time – meaning some pupils could potentially only spend one day a week in class.

The Scottish Conservatives said the government needed to be “far more creative” in finding ways of getting pupils back into school full-time.

And Labour said the government must “pull out all the stops” to tackle a growing “education emergency”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government would “move heaven and earth” to get schools “back to normal as quickly as possible”.

However, she said she would not “act recklessly and put the lives of children, teachers and the wider community at risk”.

And she said she expected to announce on Thursday that Scotland can move to the next phase in her “route map” towards lifting the coronavirus lockdown.

Scottish schools are all due to re-open from 11 August, but will not be able to accommodate all pupils at the same time because of social distancing rules.

Some councils have already said this will mean only a third of pupils will be able to attend school at once.

There have been questions over how long the blended model will continue, with Education Secretary John Swinney initially saying it was “unlikely” that schools could return to normal before the end of the coming school year.

Mr Swinney also said that next year’s exams could be pushed back.

But Ms Sturgeon later then insisted that it was “absolutely not the case that we are planning for blended learning to last a year or anything like it”.

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