Parents in some parts of Scotland are being denied vital opportunities to speak with teachers about their child’s progress, according to critics.

It comes as Covid guidance is updated to enable visits to schools for events such as parental consultations and sports gatherings. Advisors are also close to backing a change that could see secondary students allowed to remove masks while seated in class.

Recently published figures indicate overall coronavirus case rates are continuing to decline, although there has been a slight increase in the seven-day trend for 16 to17-year-olds.

Parent leaders have welcomed the latest changes and said families would be relieved to see “some elements of normality” return to schools. However, they highlighted that the “right” of parents to have a dialogue with teachers - online or in person - was not being fulfilled everywhere.

Newly updated Government guidance says that, where it is considered “beneficial”, parents and carers may attend campuses for individual visits related to the wellbeing, progress and behaviour of children. It adds: “All such visits should be risk assessed and agreed in advance by schools as being a necessary and proportionate measure.”

The update also enables parents and carers to attend school premises as spectators at outdoor sports events, provided all activity is consistent with relevant guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene.

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“In such circumstances organisers should consider mitigating measures as part of their risk assessment with an emphasis on keeping people safe,” the guidance states.

The measures extend to parent councils and parent-teacher associations, which will be able to meet on school premises. This will be subject to risk assessments and compliance with safety requirements.

Community learning and development programmes will have access on the same basis.

Eileen Prior, Executive Director at parents’ organisation Connect, said: “We expect that most parents will be relieved to see the return to some elements of normality in schools and will welcome the updated guidance.

“We have to be mindful, though, that some young people or family members are particularly vulnerable in terms of their health and so their response is likely to be much less enthusiastic. We anticipate schools will work with children, young people and their families to make sure concerns are addressed.”

She added: “We are particularly pleased to see that meetings of parent groups can re-commence in school. Parent councils are statutory bodies and have a key role in being the voice of parents and carers in school. While many have kept active over the last 18 months, others have not and so that critical voice has been missing from decision making.”

HeraldScotland: National advisors may be about to recommend relaxing rules on the use of masks when pupils are seated in class.National advisors may be about to recommend relaxing rules on the use of masks when pupils are seated in class.

However, Ms Prior stressed her organisation had significant concerns over variable provision of opportunities for meetings between teachers and parents.

She said: “The next step is parent consultations or parents’ nights. Parents have the right to have a dialogue with their children’s teachers and this needs to be achieved to meet their and their children’s rights, either face to face or online. The situation in some areas where this continues to be denied cannot continue.”

Earlier this week, campaign group UFTScotland claimed parents’ nights across the country were being moved to video or phonecalls because of “excessive” Covid restrictions. According to the group, parents in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute, Fife and Inverclyde all said telephone or video calls were being offered.

Jo Bisset, UFTScotland organiser, said: “Of course, some parents may prefer a video call and that should be an option – but the outright scrapping of a physical parents’ evening is excessive and damaging.

“Life has more or less returned to normal in everywhere but schools. There is no good reason not to hold in-person parents’ nights.”

Meanwhile, national experts have indicated they are poised to issue advice that could lead to a relaxation of Covid rules in high school classrooms.

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The minutes from the most recent meeting of the Coronavirus Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues state: “Sub-group members agreed that it was important to wait for further data before easing mitigations, but on the basis of current trends it was likely that at their next meeting on 5 October they would advise a move to baseline mitigations following the October holiday. If easing mitigations, the removal of face coverings for secondary school pupils while seated in class should be a priority.

“However, it was suggested that the sub-group would be likely to advise continuing current advice on asymptomatic testing and self-isolation, as well as the wearing of face coverings when in communal areas and moving round the school building in secondary schools until case rates have reduced further.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary at the EIS teaching union, said: “Any review of current mitigations is entirely dependent on the level of Covid infections being experienced in schools and communities.

“Given the current high levels, the retention of the pre-summer mitigations has proven to be invaluable and there would need to be strong evidence before any change should be considered.”