CHILDREN are set to resume school in Scotland on a part-time basis from August 11, with some pupils to be taught in leisure centres, libraries and community halls under plans to expand the school estate.

The Scottish Government’s plan on easing lockdown restrictions revealed the expansion could allow social distancing to be observed.

Ministers also announced that schools would be given £9 million for 25,000 laptops or tablets – with internet access provided – for disadvantaged children.

Further money will follow in a second phase of investment to support digital learning.

The route map published yesterday detailed four phases for the easing of lockdown measures as the suppression of the virus continues, including the re-opening of schools.

The only pupils currently attending school are deemed to be vulnerable or have a key worker parent or parents.

Under the first phase, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said will be implemented from next Thursday provided the suppression of the virus continues, teachers will be allowed to return to schools across Scotland to prepare for the attendance of pupils. There will be support where available for pupils moving into P1 or S1.

No changes are planned for the second phase, which will be implemented after one of the Scottish Governments three-weekly reviews deems it safe to do so.

Provided moving to the third phase has been approved, schools will open on August 11 “under a blended model of part-time in-school teaching and part-time in-home learning”, according to the 46-page document published yesterday.

The blended model will be used to allow for social distancing to be observed.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said: “These arrangements will not represent a complete return to normality by August.

“But we judge them to be the most sensible approach we can plan for at this stage.”

Later in the session, the First Minister said the Scottish Government wants to ensure pupils will be back at school “in a way that allows them to be children”.

She added: “None of us relish the prospect of seeing kids, particularly young kids, socially distancing or be as aware of these risks as we will undoubtedly have to require them to be. Trying to get, for children in particular, as much normality as possible in the school environment is really important.”

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said steps may be taken to increase the number of teachers by bringing back retired educators. Class sizes could be “significantly reduced”, he added, with some classes split into two or three groups.

The Scottish Government said school closures have had a “disproportionate impact” on children with disabilities or those with a disabled parent, children at risk of harm and neglect and those living in poverty.

Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said: “This cautious approach to re-opening schools from the Scottish Government is welcome and appears to be clearly driven by concerns for the health of pupils and staff. It contrasts sharply with the way English teachers and their unions are being bullied to return as soon as possible.”