MORE than 1,000 school staff will be recruited to help children return to classrooms full time in less than three week’s time – but the Education Secretary has been criticised for his “refusal to commit” to formalising the return date.

The Scottish Government has allocated £50 million of funding to allow councils to recruit 850 teachers and 200 support staff to help with the plans to re-open schools. Mr Swinney said he expected the “vast majority” of new staff will be in place by September but some may not be able to begin until October.

Councils will also receive £20 million to help them with extra costs relating to new health protection measures, school transport, enhanced cleaning and other essential logistical issues.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “The ring-fenced £50 million funding to recruit more teachers and support staff will enable schools to intensify support for children and young people as they return to full time face-to-face education and help to mitigate for learning loss. The final numbers will be dependent on the precise mix of staff recruited and the needs of children and young people.

“The £20 million funding recognises the extremely valuable work of our school cleaners, facilities management and school transport staff, who are essential to the successful delivery of education in Scotland and to whom I want to pay tribute today.”

READ MORE: Scottish schools should employ 'every qualified teacher in the country' ahead of schools re-opening

He added: “While this funding should provide local authorities with the assurance they require to progress plans immediately, we will continue to work with COSLA to understand the additional costs associated with the school re-opening guidance that each local authority is facing, and how these can be addressed alongside any loss of learning.

“We are currently developing guidance, with our partners in the ERG, on health mitigations and precautions that will be in place to allow schools to fully re-open in August and a final decision on school re-opening will be announced on July 30.”

Conservative education spokesperson, Jamie Green, criticised Mr Swinney for a "refusal to commit" to schools re-opening on August 11 and asked "what scientific trigger" is the Scottish Government waiting for before making a final decision.

Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray has backed earlier calls by the EIS union for “every teacher in the country” to be employed.

Mr Gray added that the funding for extra staff will account for "half a staff member per school" and pleaded for "every available qualified teacher we can" to be recruited.

More to follow.