Rules on face coverings in Scottish high schools will be in place next week

Secondary schools will be given "obligatory guidance" that pupils should wear face coverings when moving around schools from next Monday, Scotland's Education Secretary has confirmed.

John Swinney said that from August 31 pupils should be wearing masks in areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he said the Scottish Government was going further than the World Health Organisation guidance by recommending masks on school buses.

The guidance will apply to all secondary schools, he said, but pupils will not be excluded from school if they do not wear a face covering.

Further detail on the guidance is expected to be published later on Tuesday.

He said: "From August 31, young people over the age of 12 in secondary schools should be habitually wearing face coverings when they're moving around in schools and corridors and in communal areas where it is difficult to deliver the physical distancing which is an inherent part of the guidance that the education recovery group has put in place after widespread consultation and dialogue."

He said that headteachers had felt the rules would be a "beneficial move" during discussions last week.

Mr Swinney continued: "Now, of course, there will be exemptions for this, because the wearing of face coverings is not suitable for all individuals and that has to be respected."

The guidance will state that pupils should not be excluded from school if they do not wish to wear a face covering.

The Education Secretary added: "That will be explicit within the guidance that we put out, that a young person is not to be excluded for that reason, but it's obligatory guidance on all secondary schools, special schools and grant-aided schools."