The remainder of Stirling's primary school pupils are to return to the classroom this month, the First Minister has revealed.

Addressing ministers at Holyrood today, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that pupils in P4-7 will be given the green light to return to classroom learning from Monday, March 15.

It comes after pupils in P1-3, nursery and some senior pupils returned to school last month.

Ms Sturgeon says that "unless new evidence or new circumstances force us to reconsider" then all other primary school aged children will return on that date.

She added: "We will also take the next steps in a phased return to secondary school from March 15 - with a clear expectation that all secondary school pupils will be back in school on a full-time basis following the Easter holidays.

"However, it is the intention that all secondary school pupils will return to spend some time in school from March 15 until the Easter break.

"Students in the senior phase of secondary school – that is S4 to S6 – who are taking national qualifications, will have priority for face to face lessons in school.

"This will ensure that they can have their hard work fairly recognised, with qualifications under the Alternative Certification Model."

Education Scotland will publish guidance for local authorities on the phased return during the next week.

Secondary schools in all local authority areas will have to implement a 2m physical distancing rule at least until the Easter break and when pupils return face coverings will need to be worn at all times.

School staff in primary, secondary and special schools, and all secondary school pupils in years 4, 5 and 6 will be offered twice-weekly lateral flow testing.

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Ms Sturgeon continued: "The phased approach to school return can be frustrating, I know. But it is necessary and it is firmly based on the expert advice that we have received.

"It is the best, and also the most sustainable and enduring, way to get as many children back to school as possible, as safely as possible."

The First Minister also confirmed that 542 coronavirus cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours.

Additionally, 784 people were in hospital, with 71 in intensive care.

A further 33 deaths have been registered, taking Scotland's death toll to 7,164.

In total, 1,634,361 people in Scotland have now received the first dose of the Covid vaccine.