A KELTY mum said she feels her family are being "blackmailed" by Fife Council over sending her children back to school.

After her husband was diagnosed with skin cancer recently, the family say they feel it is unsafe for them to send their two youngsters back into the classroom.

However, when she informed their school, St Joseph's Primary, she was told that they would not be able to have work sent home.

The council's education department confirmed this position and said the parents would have to submit a home learning plan for the year if they wished to home-school their children.

The mum, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they feel they have nowhere to turn.

"The headteacher says the school is open and is safe enough for the school to come back," she said. "It is a worrying time for us as we don't know what my husband's prognosis will be. We seem to be stuck in a Catch-22 situation with nowhere to go.

"We tried to explain it isn't for a year, it's for right now until it's a little safer," she said. "Both of us have health problems which makes us at risk for COVID so all we are trying to do is keep our family safe.

"We had been thinking of putting them in but at the end of last week, two schools were affected in Scotland. It is getting closer and we are sort of in the middle of them. It is still going about and, to me, it is like the school are not taking responsibility.

"Right now, we don't know what to do or who to contact as we feel blackmailed by the education service to put them to school when we feel it's not safe to do so.

"We have been asking for schoolwork, to be told the teachers are too busy teaching in classes."

The family are now looking at different home-school options in case a resolution can't be found.

"They said you can submit a whole year's online plan of home education but we are not teachers," she added. "Home-schooling was fair enough for lockdown but now lockdown is over, it is not good enough. Even if they come back with a plan, this is what we are teaching, we could do the same."

Fife Council's acting head of education and children's services, Angela Logue, said public health advice was being adhered to in schools.

"While we fully understand that some parents and children will have a range of concerns or anxieties about returning to schools, schools are now fully opened, therefore, all staff are teaching and supporting learning experiences in classes," she said.

"All public heath advice is being followed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children in school. Unless a child has been advised to self-isolate by the Health Protection Team, then we are unable to provide a home learning programme.

"It is important that parents with particular concerns speak directly with their headteacher to agree a plan to support the safe return of their children to school. Our educational psychology service can also provide advice and support to families at psychological.service@fife.gov.uk."