SCOTTISH councils have demanded that scientific evidence for fully re-opening schools is handed over.

The Scottish Government’s plans for “blended learning” have been reduced to a “contingency” after a backlash for parents.

Nicola Sturgeon has stressed that as long as success in suppressing Covid-19 continues, schools will be able to open with full time teaching from August 11.

But Cosla, the umbrella group for Scottish councils, has formally expressed “disappointment that this decision was taken with no consultation with local authorities, trade unions or stakeholders”.

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At Cosla’s leaders meeting on Friday, the organisation also agreed to ask the Scottish Government to provide local councils with the evidence that it will be safe to open schools fully in August.

Cllr David Ross, leader of the Labour Group at Cosla, said: “Councils are committed to working constructively with the Scottish Government to achieve the safe return to school, that’s why we were disappointed that John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, announced plans for a full reopening of schools in August without consultation with local authorities, trade unions or other stakeholders.

“As directed, councils across Scotland were preparing plans for a ‘blended’ approach to the re-opening of schools, with pupils only attending for face to face learning for part of the week. These have now been put aside in order to start planning for the full return of pupils after the summer holidays. We are asking for flexibility in how this happens based on local circumstances and capacity.”

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He added: “It’s not as simple as just going back to education as it was before the Covid-19 emergency. Additional health measures will have to be put in place and we await further guidance on cleaning, the provision of school meals and the arrangements for school transport among other necessary practicalities.

“As the Scottish Government has said, the re-opening of schools is still subject to scientific and health advice so Cosla is also asking for the Scottish Government to share details of the scientific advice on which they have based the decision to fully re-open schools in August, to build confidence and give assurances to parents, pupils and staff.”