The First Minister has confirmed in the last few minutes that all primary school aged children will be back to full-time education from March 15. 

She told the Scottish Parliament that this will only change if there is new evidence or circumstances.

For secondary schools there will be a phased return back to education from the same date, but high schools will be back full-time after the Easter holidays. 

For March 15, secondary pupils will revert to the blended learning model which has previously been seen and they will have some education in the classroom on a part-time business before the Easter break. 

While at school, secondary pupils will still have to observe social distancing and face masks will have to be worn at all times. 

Delivering the next stage in plans, Nicola Sturgeon said she believed that the end of home learning was "firmly insight". 

Covid-19 data has been “much more encouraging” in Scotland in the past week, Nicola Sturgeon said.

"There is more reason to be optimistic now than at any time since early autumn."

Although today's update focused on education, the first minister said she will update parliament next week on the change in level four restrictions. 

Furthermore, the Scottish Government will consider in the next week if the easing of restrictions can be accelerated. 

The First Minister said figures in the past week were encouraging, and said she and ministers would be considering if the exit from lockdown can be moved forward.

Average new cases reported had dropped to 657 from 815 at this point last week.

Case positivity, the First Minister added, is now consistently below 5%.

She said: “I have always said if we can go further and faster, then we will not hesitate to do so.

“All of us want to move on as quickly as possible – and, as a priority, to see friends and family again. I hope that day is now not too far away.

“But to make sure we don’t see any reverse in our progress that would put that in jeopardy, it is really important that, for now, we all need to abide by the lockdown rules.

“So please continue to stick to their letter and their spirit.”

Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed the resumption of competitive Scottish football in leagues one and two, the women’s premier league one and certain Highland league teams - for the purpose of playing Scottish Cup ties.