Many pupils return to school as phased reopening begins

Children in early years education and the first three years of primary have returned to class full-time.

Schools have been closed to all but a minority of pupils since the beginning of January. Getty Images via Getty Images
Schools have been closed to all but a minority of pupils since the beginning of January.

Some of Scotland’s pupils are returning to class on Monday as part of a phased reopening of schools.

Children in early years education and the first three years of primary are set to go back full-time, along with some senior secondary pupils who need to do practical work for qualifications.

It is the first step in a phased reopening of schools which have been closed to all but a minority of pupils since the beginning of January.

Ahead of the return, the education secretary said it is “critical” that parents follow mask-wearing and physical distancing rules at the school gates.

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Some senior secondary pupils will return to do practical work for qualifications.
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John Swinney said the move should not be a cause for adults to relax restrictions.

He acknowledged the Government had little “headroom” regarding the R number – the rate at which the virus grows.

He said: “I know this can be quite controversial at times but adults making sure they follow all of the physical distancing requirements at the school gate, or the mask-wearing requirements, is critical to make sure that the return of young children – who are much less susceptible to transmitting the virus – is not in some way underminded by the fact that there is essentially parental transmission.”

He continued: “We’ve all got to play a part, not just the school environment but the whole surrounding environment of society, to make sure that we do all that we can to suppress the virus.

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John Swinney issued a warning to parents ahead of the return.
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“Because we don’t actually have an awful lot of headroom between where the R level is just now – somewhere between 0.7 and 0.9 – and 1, where obviously the virus begins to spread exponentially.”

Swinney said ministers would be monitoring data carefully when the initial cohort of pupils returns before deciding on whether others could go back to class.

Last week, the education secretary announced pilot testing programmes have been running in a small number of schools ahead of a wider rollout across the country.

He said: “As part of that, we have been working closely with the UK Government to get test kits into schools.

“This process has obviously been affected by the severe weather that we’ve experienced in recent days.

“However, I can confirm that around two-and-a-half thousand schools have now received testing kits and we expect any remaining schools will receive allocations either today or early next week.”

Swinney said testing in schools will be entirely voluntary but encouraged staff and pupils to accept them when offered.

Anas Sarwar wins Scottish Labour leadership election

The Glasgow MSP beat Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon to succeed Richard Leonard.

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Anas Sarwar has beaten Monica Lennon to become the next leader of Scottish Labour.

Sarwar said it was the honour of his life to take on the role.

Cara Hilton, chair of the Scottish Labour party, announced the result on Saturday.

The ballot closed on Friday, February 26, with Sarwar winning 57.56% of the vote.

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The Glasgow MSP won over 61% of votes cast by party members, but received slightly less support from affiliated supporters than Lennon.

Sarwar said: “It is greatest honour of my to be elected leader of the Scottish Labour party.

“Thank you to our members and affiliates for putting your trust in me and giving me the opportunity to serve our movement.

“And thank you to Monica for joining me in what has been positive campaign that has shown the best of our party, not the worst of our politics.

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“I want to say directly to the people of Scotland. I know Labour has a lot of work to do to win back your trust because if we’re brutally honest, you haven’t had the Scottish Labour Party you deserve.

“Today we have elected the first ever ethnic minority leader of a political party in the UK.

“That doesn’t say something about me. That says something great about Scotland and its people.”

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “Huge congratulations to Anas on his election as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party. I look forward to working with him to secure our economy, protect our NHS and rebuild our country.”

“We will fight the Scottish Parliamentary elections by making the case for a socially just Scotland in a modern United Kingdom. Under his leadership, Scottish Labour will focus on what unites us – not what divides us.

“I know Anas will do the hard work that is necessary to win back the trust of the Scottish people and build for the future as we emerge from this pandemic.“

Lennon thanked Sarwar for the “positive” leadership battle.

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She said: “I want to thank Anas Sarwar and his team for making this a positive debate. My own team of volunteers have been awesome. I’m grateful to everyone who has taken part and taken an interest.”

Ms Hilton thanked former leader Richard Leonard, interim leader Jackie Baillie and party staff and volunteers for their work.

She thanked both candidates saying: “At every stage of this election you’ve shown Scottish Labour at its very best.”

“The odds are stacked against us in this election.

“Now is the time, comrades, to come together… Scotland is ready for change, let’s deliver that.”

A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI for STV News this week projected the SNP to increase its share of the vote by nine, winning 72 of the 129 seats, giving the government a majority of 15.

The poll also showed the Scottish Conservatives coming in second second with 26 seats and Scottish Labour third on 17, with the Scottish Greens on nine and the Scottish Liberal Democrats on five.

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “Many congratulations to Anas Sarwar on becoming the new leader of Scottish Labour.

“The SNP remains willing to work with any party to oppose Tory austerity, protect our Parliament from a Tory power grab, and stand up for our place in Europe – however Mr Sarwar has, perhaps, an impossible job on his hands breathing life into a party with no new ideas, ambition or vision for Scotland.”


Coronavirus: Further 18 deaths and 525 cases in last 24 hours

The death toll under this measurement – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7129.

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Coronavirus: Further 18 deaths and 525 cases recorded.

Scotland has recorded another 18 deaths of coronavirus patients in the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government has said.

The death toll under this measurement – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7129.

A further 525 positive cases were also reported by the Scottish Government in the last 24 hours – 3.1% of those newly-tested, down from 3.3% the previous day.

The figures show 201,512 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 200,987 the previous day.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded 151 cases, along with 106 in Lothian and 89 in Lanarkshire.

There are 898 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 26 in 24 hours, and 74 patients are in intensive care, a decrease of six.

A further 27,224 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

As of 8.30am on Saturday, a total of 1,570,153 people in Scotland had received their first dose of vaccine, and 72,178 have received their second dose.

Driver arrested and two being treated in hospital after crash

Police are at the scene of a one-vehicle crash on Edinburgh Road in the east end of Glasgow.

STV News
Police are investigating a car crash in Glasgow.

Two people have been taken to hospital after a car crashed in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday night.

Police are still at the scene of the one-vehicle crash, which happened at Edinburgh Road’s junction with Crowlin Crescent at around 5.55pm.

Three men were injured in the crash and two were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment to their injuries.

The other man is still at the scene.

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Police Scotland said in a statement: “Police in Glasgow are currently dealing with a one-vehicle crash on Edinburgh Road.

“The driver has been arrested in connection with road traffic offences.

“Enquiries are continuing and local road closures are in place.”

Dad saves OAP from frozen canal after spotting dog left alone

Gregor Angus and his son were out on a walk when they saw the man in trouble.

Matthew Newby via SWNS
Gregor Angus and his son Lucas were walking along the Union Canal in Linlithgow when they saw the man in trouble.

A hero dad rescued an OAP who fell into a freezing canal after spotting his devoted dog sitting nearby.

Gregor Angus, 39, was walking with his son Lucas, aged four, along the Union Canal in Linlithgow, West Lothian on January 31.

They recognised dogwalker Brian Watson, 81, who was out for a walk with his black Labrador, named Hugo, just before 5pm.

As they circled back on themselves, Gregor noticed the black Lab was sitting by himself by the side of the water near Friars Brae Bridge.

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When he looked closer, senior business development manager Gregor was shocked to see the pensioner lying face-down in water and appearing to be lifeless.

He attempted to drag Brian from the freezing water but the pensioner’s clothes were waterlogged and Gregor yelled for help.

The OAP was rushed to hospital but has made a full recovery.

Dad-of-two Gregor said: “When we were walking back, I spotted his dog sitting by itself which I thought was a bit strange.

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“When we got closer, I noticed what turned out to be Brian lying in the water.

“He was lying face down in the water and was completely lifeless.”

Lucas held onto the dog’s lead while his dad tried to drag the pensioner to safety.

Gregor added: “From the edge of the water I was able to grab onto his jacket and haul him out without having to go in.

“I screamed for help, there were people about 100 yards away who rushed over.

“He was wearing a jacket and winter clothes, I needed help to pull him out.

“It was a team effort, I’m thankful for the other people who were there to help.

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“I think his body went into shock with the cold, he didn’t cough up water when we got him out from the canal.”

Passerby attempted to keep Brian warm by lending him their coats while an ambulance rushed to the scene.

Gregor, from Linlithgow, added: “His daughter phoned that evening, she was very grateful.

“They were able to get his temperature back to normal at hospital.

“Fortunately Brian is OK.”

Concern growing for safety of man, 39, reported missing

Police are searching for Andrew McLeod in the Auchterhouse area while trying to establish his identity.

Police Scotland
A man with the name of Andrew McLeod has gone missing.

Police are appealing for information to trace a 39-year-old man who has been reported missing in Tayside.

Officers are trying to locate a man with the name of Andrew McLeod, who has gone missing from the Auchterhouse area.

But police say initial enquiries have shown this may not be the man’s name.

The person who reported the incident told police the missing man was having some personal issues and there is concern for his safety.

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Officers have also been provided with other information regarding the disappearance but they have so far been unable to establish the veracity of the information.

A number of enquiries have been carried out in the village of Auchterhouse. Officers have been speaking to people in the vicinity but no-one knows or recognises the man, or appears to have seen him.

Police say it’s possible the man lives elsewhere in Scotland. They are widening their search parameters and appealing to the public for assistance.

The man was last seen at the beginning of February in Montrose but officers don’t have any information about what he was wearing.

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Officers are also checking relevant CCTV images for any additional information that could assist their enquiries.

Inspector Martin Pattie said: “Concern has been raised for this person’s welfare and our priority is to find him. Despite our efforts, we have been unable to trace him so far.

“We need to establish the man’s identity and alert his family and friends to his disappearance. I would urge the man to contact us so we know he is safe and well. I am also appealing to anyone who recognises the man in the photograph to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Police Scotland via 101, quoting incident number 1280 of 26 February, 2021.

Two arrested after injured teen found in critical condition

A 15-year-old was taken to hospital after police found him seriously hurt in the Thornliebank area.

© Google Maps 2020
Boydstone Road, Thornliebank.

Two people have been arrested after a teenage boy was found seriously injured in Thornliebank.

Police were called to a report of a disturbance on Boydstone Road at around 11.10pm on Friday night, where they discovered the hurt 15-year-old.

The teenager was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) where he is in a critical condition.

ScotRail suspended services at Thornliebank station this morning, with trains running between Pollokshaws West and Giffnock passing through without stopping.

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Disruption cause by the police dealing with the incident has now ended and services have returned to normal.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 11.10pm on Friday, February 26, 2021, police received a report of a disturbance in Boydstone Road. 

“Officers attended and found a 15-year-old male seriously injured.

“He was taken to the QEUH where he remains in a critical condition. Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident.”


Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen: Life after Lennon begins with win

John Kennedy had the perfect start to his spell as interim manager.

Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Odsonne Edouard scored the only goal of the game.

John Kennedy began his tenure as Celtic’s interim boss with a narrow 1-0 win Aberdeen at Parkhead.

The Hoops assistant manager was promoted on Wednesday morning following the resignation of Neil Lennon and got off to a winning start thanks to in-form striker Odsonne Edouard.

The French forward scored his 21st goal of the season with a deflected strike in the eighth minute of a first half mostly dominated by the home side and, while Aberdeen improved after the break, they could not fashion a leveller

It was not markedly superior fare than that served up under Lennon but the managerless home side moved 15 points behind Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership having played a game more and, while hopes of a 10th successive title have long been in ruins, Kennedy can do no more than keep winning.

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There was intrigue around his first team selection and in the event he made two changes, one enforced.

Defender Diego Laxalt came in for injured Greg Taylor and Polish striker Patryk Klimala replaced Tom Rogic for his first start since the defeat by Rangers in October, while for the Dons, former Celtic winger Jonny Hayes replaced injured striker Fraser Hornby.

The Granite City men were first to threaten.

Defender Ash Taylor hit the bar in the fifth minute with a looping header from a Niall McGinn corner then seconds later forced a fine save from Celtic keeper Scott Bain with a close-range header from another corner.

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However, moments later, the home side through their prolific striker and with some good fortune.

With time and space, Edouard took a pass from Ryan Christie at the edge of the Aberdeen box and fired in a shot which took a deflection off defender Tommie Hoban and wrong-footed keeper Joe Lewis, for his ninth goal in nine games.

Bain then saved a long-range drive from Ross McCrorie before Lewis reacted well to push Hoops midfielder David Turnbull’s drive past the post, the corner defended.

The Parkhead side should have doubled their lead in the 20th minute when right-back Jonjoe Kenny’s inch-perfect cross from the right found Klimala but he somehow managed to direct it past the post from six yards.

Celtic dominated the ball up until the interval with Aberdeen starting the second half with more purpose and another threat from a corner where Klimala headed away another header from Taylor.

The home side kept probing but as the game unfolded further neither keeper was seeing much action.

The Celtic defence coped with a series of crosses into their box – skipper Scott Brown denied McGinn with a tackle and defender Kristoffer Ajer got an important header from a McGinn cross.

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The Dons defence was equally focused, although Hoops midfielder Callum McGregor came close with a drive in the last minute before Edouard passed up a good chance in a late counter-attack.


Man in hospital after being attacked at railway station

Victim receiving treatment for significant head injuries following attack at Johnstone Railway Station.

© Google Maps 2020
Man was attacked at Johnstone Railway Station.

A man is in hospital after being attacked at a railway station.

The victim was hit over the back of the head, which caused him to fall and bang his head on the pavement, at Johnstone Railway Station at around 7.15pm on Friday.

The man is still in hospital receiving treatment for significant head injuries.

The suspect is described as a white male with short dark hair, around 5ft 6ins, wearing a Fila jumper with white writing, red cuffs and white stripes down the arms, and white tracksuit bottoms.

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The suspect was also carrying a black bag.

British Transport Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.

Anyone with information can contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 473 of 26/02/21.

Alternatively they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Lawyer who helped fraudster run £1.6m scheme struck off

John Craxton admitted facilitating Edwin McLaren's fraud in Scotland's longest ever criminal trial.

Police Scotland
Edwin McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

The lawyer who helped a fraudster, jailed for a £1.6m scheme, to con vulnerable people out of their homes has been banned from returning to the profession.

John Craxton, 60, testified against Edwin McLaren detailing his knowledge of the scam which preyed on “distressed” home-owners in what was Scotland’s longest criminal trial.

McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

The Council of The Law Society brought a case of professional misconduct against Craxton before the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal (SSDT).

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The tribunal heard how Craxton facilitated McLaren’s fraud in which home sellers were “induced to relinquish their real right to their property for a small proportion of its value”.

“The Fiscal had described it as being deplorable and the Tribunal did not disagree.”

Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal

Craxton was given immunity from prosecution in return for giving evidence in the McLaren trial where he admitted his involvement.

During the trial, Craxton – of Dumbarton – admitted that he knew McLaren was creating a portfolio of property “for his own benefit”.

Craxton acted on the sale for seven properties for which McLaren was convicted, with the tribunal before the SSDT looking at five of them.

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McLaren would purchase a share of a house with the homeowner receiving an injection of cash in return, but in reality the vulnerable people were convinced to sign documents meaning they no longer owned their properties.

The former solicitor did not appear at the tribunal but did submit a letter accepting his actions amounted to professional misconduct.

Although Craxton had removed himself from the roll of solicitors, the Law Society decided the seriousness of his behaviour warranted action because it did not prevent him from having his named restored on the roll in the future.

The tribunal’s ruling stated: “[Craxton] admitted that he facilitated Edwin McLaren’s fraud.

“He admitted that he had discussed with Mr McLaren the scheme of buying distressed sellers’ properties in early 2008.

“The Tribunal considered the Respondent’s [Craxton] misconduct in this case to be at the very highest level of seriousness. The Fiscal had described it as being deplorable and the Tribunal did not disagree.”


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