It was good to see John Swinney perform a complete U-turn on his decision to allow schools to return as normal in August – but not before a huge effort by teaching staff to transform schools to comply with social distancing.

Mr Swinney and the SNP government had been saying they were following “scientific” evidence. But that disappeared when pressure was applied and they realised they had no support for their plans.

The initial plans had been very difficult and almost unworkable, not just for teaching staff but for the children and parents. They demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of how education, or the practicalities of family life work.

The August return to school is still some time away, and yes, we don’t know what will happen by then, but we should be aiming for as close to normality as possible.

The country is facing an uphill struggle to rebuild the economy, to preserve jobs rather than create them, and to get back on top of medical care.

It would be an even harder challenge if parents who work need to home school their children.

We rely on the youth of the country to be well educated. They are the future, and we cannot fail them.

Teaching staff across the area, and country, have been doing an incredible job by continuing to educate children remotely.

The challenges this poses are huge, and the costs incurred by schools to ensure pupil and staff safety are high.

Mr Swinney and his government need to ensure local authorities are well funded so schools get the resources they need, as their budgets are already stretched to capacity.

On other matters Saturday was Armed Forces Day. Along with emergency services workers, and other key workers, those who serve their country in our armed forces have continued to work throughout this pandemic to ensure our country is safe, secure and have assisted the NHS in building additional hospitals.

There have also been army medics who have chosen to work with the NHS to ensure they have the staffing required.

I want to thank them all for their past, present and future work in maintaining our national security, so we call all feel safe and enjoy our daily lives.