PLANS to allow the safe return of children to Wee County schools are already being drawn up.

In a route map published today, the Scottish Government indicated that children could return to school on August 11 for the next term while staff will be in from June for preparations.

There are plans for a blended approach which will seek to strike a balance between children attending school, if it is safe to do so, and pupils learning from home.

In the Wee County, schools and places for early learning will be sharing information ahead of a return via their websites and social media channels.

Councillor Graham Lindsay, spokesman for education, said: “This has been unprecedented times and our staff have been working exceptionally hard in very difficult circumstances to ensure that our young people in Clackmannanshire are continuing to progress in their education despite the circumstances.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and pupils remains a priority for us.

“We have already been working on how we can maintain this when education and early years establishments are allowed to reopen so the first minister’s statement today means we are in a good place to reopen establishments from 11 August.

“As our plans progress, we will continue to work in partnership with parents, children and young people as well as our partners.

“We appreciate the support and patience we have received from parents and carers as we work through the various challenges we have had to face.”

The government has made clear the route map is not set in stone yet and any move to lift restrictions will need to be backed by evidence.

And at Holyrood today, local MSP Keith Brown secured assurances from the first minister that schools will only re-open if it is safe to do so.

Social distancing measures will be implemented and there are plans for staggered arrival and departure times at schools.

The government also indicated that during phase one of lifting restrictions, which will commence after evidence is reviewed on May 28 – but not necessarily on that date - that “an increased number of children to access critical childcare provision including the re-opening of child minding services and fully outdoor nursery provision”.

When speaking in parliament today, Mr Brown highlighted that councils will have a lead role in implementing plans for the re-opening of schools, in accordance with the local context.