Local authorities across Tayside have reassured families that schools are not experiencing an increase in demand for places this lockdown, despite concern from the education secretary.
As per Scottish Government guidance, vulnerable children and children of key workers can attend school or nursery as normal.
However speaking at the weekend, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney raised concerns over the “criticality of the role” of some workers.
He said: “I spoke to about 800 teachers on Friday and I was concerned, listening to a number of those head teachers, about some of the arguments put forward by employers about the criticality of the role of some of their employees.
“We have to monitor that very carefully.”
Despite Mr Swinney’s concerns, authorities in Tayside have not reported an increase in demand for childcare places since the beginning of term.
Schools in Dundee reopened for vulnerable children and children of key workers last Thursday, whilst in Angus they reopened last Wednesday.
During the first lockdown last year, Dundee City Council operated eight support hubs where children of key workers and vulnerable pupils could attend during the school day.
More than 600 pupils from across the city attended the centres each day until the end of the school year.
This lockdown period will see all schools and nurseries in the city remain open in order to provide this service.
Despite this, Dundee City Council has not seen an increase in demand for places, but outlined that parents should only send their children as an “absolute last resort.”
A spokesman for the local authority said: “In the March 2020 lockdown, the council operated a limited number of community support centres where places were allocated under a central application system.
“Under the current restrictions all of our schools opened at the start of 2021 and remain open to provide a service for children and young people from key workers’ families or those deemed vulnerable. Individual schools are liaising directly with key workers in their communities regarding places.
“Our schools follow national guidance around the definition of key workers. As outlined in the guidance key workers should only seek to send their children to school as an absolute last resort.
“We are not aware of any significant increase in demand for spaces so far compared to school closures in March.”
Figures provided by Angus Council show that on January 6, 827 pupils attended school in-person. Of these, 703 attended a primary school or early learning setting.
A further 124 attended a secondary school.
The next day, a total of 1,043 pupils attended school in-person, the majority, 924 in primary school or early learning, and 119 in secondary schools.
On Friday, there were 813 pupils in primary school and early learning settings and a further 90 in secondary schools.
During the first lockdown Angus Council provided childcare through eleven school-based hubs in the region.
However – similar to Dundee – the current lockdown will see schools in the region remain open for those pupils who still need to attend.
Commenting on the number of pupils who have attended school since the start of term, an Angus Council spokesman said: “This also comes with an important caveat that the position in January is not comparable with that which operated from March.
“At that time we adopted a hub model whereas on this occasion (from January) children are attending at their own schools.”