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Nicola Sturgeon planned to reintroduce pupils back to school for a day a week in a blended learning plan but parents “don’t want it”. The blended learning plan caused a backlash from parents who claim that the plans would “damage their children’s education”. The Education Secretary John Swinney has since announced pupils should prepare to return to school by August 11.

Shadow Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs, Rachael Hamilton, explained there’s a huge difference in the education policy between England and Scotland.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Hamilton said: “Boris Johnson has promised a huge catch-up operation to try and minimise the impact of the lockdown on children’s education.

“But in Scotland we saw a huge U-turn forced by the Scottish Conservatives and a massive communications debacle about getting schools open.

“Originally it was suggested in Scotland by the Education Secretary that children would go back to school for just one day but then they admitted that blended learning was possibly not what parents wanted to see.

“Also, recently there’s been an admission that the 25,000 laptops that the Scottish Government had purchased for vulnerable children have actually not been handed out.

“There has been a huge difference in the education policy in England compared to Scotland where they were originally only looking at going back one day a week.”

It comes as Scots have been warned not to expect the easing of many more Covid-19 restrictions at next week’s lockdown review point.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s top priorities are to ensure children can go back to school on a full-time basis next month and shielding requirements for the more vulnerable can be lifted.

Making these changes requires levels of coronavirus to “remain very low”, the First Minister stressed.

She said: “These two aims, allowing people who have been shielding to live more normally and enabling children to go back to school full-time, are really important priorities.

“And to be frank, they are only achievable if levels of Covid in the community remain very low.”

Speaking at the coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, she said: “It is possible we may not be able to make any changes next week beyond confirming the return of schooling and a pause in shielding.”

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It comes as figures from the National Records of Scotland show just six deaths linked to Covid-19 occurred between July 13 and July 19, down seven from 13 the previous week.

This is the lowest weekly toll since coronavirus deaths in Scotland began in March and the 12th week in a row that the number of deaths has fallen.

The figures were revealed as several restrictions that have been in place since the lockdown began four months ago were lifted.

Make-up and nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours, dress fitters, tailors, indoor photography studios and shoe fitters are all now allowed to reopen with enhanced hygiene measures in place.

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