THEY are designed to ensure Scotland’s children do not lose touch with the exploits of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots as society edges out of lockdown.

In a first, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has created dedicated online learning resources covering key periods including the Jacobite rising and the Battle of Bannockburn.

The materials have been made available to teaching staff and pupils, and are aimed at giving access to stories they would normally discover at NTS heritage sites which are currently closed under Covid-19 restrictions.

It also comes as home schooling looks set to continue north of the Border until the summer holidays, with pupils expected to return to classrooms from August 11.

Initially, youngsters will be in class part-time so will be working from home according to a “blended learning” model.

NTS resources, obtainable through the Google Classroom platform, include fact sheets, quizzes and exercises designed to develop critical thinking skills.

Katey Boal, Visitor Services Manager (Engagement) for the charity, said the materials had been put together to help children learn about and enjoy the country’s past while society embarks on a slow recovery from the pandemic.

“The National Trust for Scotland plays an important role in children’s education and we welcome thousands of school pupils every year as part of our educational programme,” she said.

“We wanted to make sure that young learners didn’t miss out on the fascinating stories that they’d uncover during a visit to our properties.

“We work extremely hard to protect sites of significant importance in Scotland so that we can continue to tell their stories for years to come and we’re excited to make these resources available to teachers and hope they can help at this difficult time.”

Suitable for primary and secondary learners, the materials have been put together by members of NTS’ learning teams, with charity bosses stressing that they adhere to the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence.

It is the first time the NTS has adapted its programme for on-line learning. New content will be uploaded to the online platform on a weekly basis and is expected to cover a range of topics, including the Battle of Culloden and the achievements of Scottish women.

There will also be worksheets on protecting animal and plant species. Charity leaders said the content of those materials which are provided would develop depending on the response from school staff.

“Our Google Classroom resources have been curated to cover a wide range of topics,” explained Ms Boal.

“For older children there are resources on the impact of war on communities, which encourage critical thinking and we have quizzes and fact sheets centred around numeracy and literacy.

“This is the first time we’ve adapted our programme for online-learning and we’ll be reviewing feedback from teachers and evolving the topics where we can.”

The NTS is supported by more than 365,000 members and is funded largely through donations.

It owns and manages around 130 properties and 180,000 acres of land, including castles, gardens, and remote rural areas.

Among its best known sites are Culzean Castle and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

The Trust also looks after early industrial buildings such as Barry Mill, near Carnoustie, and Robert Smail’s Printing Works in the Scottish Borders.