NURSERY children and all pupils in Primary 1-3 in West Fife are set to return to school under plans laid out by the First Minister.

Senior secondary pupils in S4-6 will also be welcomed back in small numbers to complete practical coursework that cannot be done from home, from Monday.

However, Nicola Sturgeon said lockdown measures would remain as they are, with the exception of schools, into March if not beyond.

It is unlikely more pupils from outside these groups will return to school until at least the middle of next month – and Ms Sturgeon emphasised that parents should continue to work from home and avoid socialising at school gates so as not to “jeopardise” progress in the fight against the virus.

The First Minister said: “Being able to get children back to education may mean the rest of us living with some other restrictions for longer. That’s a trade-off we may need to make at this stage.

“The steps I have set out are clearly of great importance but there’s a more general and overriding message: the proposals of getting more pupils into school later in March very much depends on all of us continuing to abide by the wider restrictions. If any of this is to be attainable in the weeks ahead … that means sticking to the lockdown rules.”

Under the Scottish Government’s new guidelines, two-metre social-distancing guidelines will be implemented at secondary schools for pupils and teachers alike. Both staff and older secondary pupils in S4 to S6 will have access to home-testing kits to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Parents in Fife were advised of the changes last week in a letter sent out by council education chief Carrie Lindsay.

In the letter, Ms Lindsay said that the move was “the start of getting every child in Fife back into school as soon as it’s safe to do so”, adding that, to date, children allowed into school had “coped well with the unusual circumstances”.

She has also pleaded with parents to continue following coronavirus guidelines.

“We still need you as parents and carers to play your part, by wearing face-coverings and staying two metres apart from others when you drop off and pick up your child,” she wrote.

“Please don’t share the car journey to school with other parents or their children. This virus likes to pass from person to person so let’s do everything we can to stop that happening in and around our schools.”

School transport will be available as normal, with kids over the age of five required to wear a face-covering on transport unless exempt.