More school pupils will return to class under new plans announced by Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister told MSPs that those in P4-7 would resume in-person learning on a full-time basis from March 15.

It is also expected that all children in secondary school will receive some in-person education in the period up to the Easter break next month and return full-time following that.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon updated MSPs on Tuesday afternoon.Nicola Sturgeon updated MSPs on Tuesday afternoon.

S4-6 students who are taking national qualifications will have priority for face-to-face lessons but the intention is that every secondary-age pupil will receive at least some in-school education each week from March 15.

The announcement was made as the latest statistics show coronavirus infections north of the Border are firmly on a downward trend.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs on Tuesday afternoon: "The final point I want to make here is to say thank you – firstly to all school leadership teams, and all school staff, including of course all teachers, for everything that has been done to support our children and young people in the last few months.

"I know everyone is looking forward to having children back in the classroom as soon as possible.

"I also want to thank parents across the country. I can only imagine how difficult all of this disruption continues to be - but I hope, and believe, that the end of it is now firmly in sight.

READ MORE: Scots parents 'confident' schools are safe for pupils

"And my thanks too to children and young people. I know how hard it must be to be separated from friends and teachers. But you have responded magnificently to all the difficulties of the last year.

"I hope that you are looking forward to getting back to school later this month. And I hope that you will start to feel life become a lot more normal very soon."

Ms Sturgeon's announcement comes after P1-3 children and those in pre-school returned last month.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon gives go-ahead for phased reopening of schools

Classrooms had also been reopened for some senior pupils so they could carry out essential practical work.

Covid-19 testing is being made available to those in S4-6, with strict rules on social distancing in place. Twice-weekly lateral flow checks are also being offered to all primary, secondary and special school staff.

READ MORE: Help for children catch up at school may last beyond summer holidays

Until now, most pupils have been learning remotely, with the exception of key worker and vulnerable children.