The Scottish Conservatives have been accused of wanting to punish pupils and teachers with proposals for a longer school day to aid education "catch up" in the wake of Covid.

Green politicians said the change would be a "disaster" for mental health and pile extra stress on overworked staff.

It comes after The Times highlighted how the Scottish Conservative local election manifesto outlines plans to pressure SNP ministers into funding a pilot extension to the school day.

The party has also promised to push for a national tutoring programme for those who need it most, as well as extra funding for after-school classes.

READ MORE: Curriculum for Excellence 'should be axed'

Oliver Mundell, education spokesman, said: "With these policies the Scottish Conservatives will finally start to get Scotland's shambolic education system back on track."   

But Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: “The Tories are going to increasingly absurd lengths to take Scotland’s education system back a hundred years.

“Time in school wasn’t the only thing our children missed due to the pandemic, they also lost out on social opportunities, especially with friends and family.

"Forcing them to spend more time in school at the expense of the myriad of other things which bring joy in their lives would be a disaster for the mental health of an already struggling generation.

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"And that’s before even thinking about our massively overworked teachers, who are already doing some of the longest overtime in the developed world.

“Contrast this absurd Tory idea with the actions the Scottish Greens are taking from within government, where we have just funded the largest increase in teacher recruitment for a generation. That’s how best to invest in the future of our young people.”

The Scottish Conservatives previously published a policy paper that set out proposals to scrap Curriculum for Excellence and return to a more traditional, knowledge-based education framework.