Teachers will begin to return to school buildings from Monday as East Lothian Council makes steps towards reopening schools from August in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Youngsters who were using the local authority's six children’s hubs - set up to provide emergency childcare for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children during the Covid-19 crisis - will return to their regular schools from Monday too.

However, the council has stressed that schools continue to remain closed to all other pupils.

Work is also continuing to determine what a ‘blended model’ of education will mean for East Lothian families – with a strong focus on helping pupils "recover and reconnect" when they do return to the classrooms after months at home.

Lesley Brown, chief operating officer for education at the council, said: "Our return to school this year will be different to previous experiences and it’s important that our approach is different too.

“Giving our school staff and our learners the opportunity to spend time reconnecting is vital. We need to allow our children and young people to process their experiences and begin to recover from it."

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, cabinet member for education and children's services said: "As a parent myself I know that families will have worries about their children returning to school.

”We want to reassure our parents and carers that the strong focus for all our schools in East Lothian will be based on supporting the emotional wellbeing of our children and creating a safe and supportive environment for them."

The Scottish Government is issuing extensive guidance to all local authorities to safely manage spaces and learning.

The council is currently reviewing capacity in school buildings in light of this guidance to ensure all pupils will have an opportunity to access face-to-face learning.

Parents will shortly be consulted on what this will mean for their particular school.

Meanwhile, the council’s educational psychology service has said that a strong focus on pupils’ emotional wellbeing will be needed to help children and young people recover and reconnect when school buildings reopen.

Following consultation with school staff, the service has created guidelines to support pupils’ return to learning, focusing on the ‘nurture’ approach already used in many county schools which, says the council, is "based on language, an individual learner’s development and communication, and the security that a school base can provide".

Specialist resources have also been created to support staff to make the move back to school-based learning and new daily routines.

The authority believes that this 'nurture' approach will help children – especially younger year groups – to share their experiences and reconnect with friends and teachers.

And the council says it recognises that not all children’s experiences of lockdown will be the same.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last month that all Scottish schools would reopen from August 11 using a "blended model" of education, involving part-time study in school combined with some learning at home.

East Lothian Council's guidance is available to view online at www.eastlothian.gov.uk/nurturerecoverreconnect