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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 June 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Probation plan for poor teachers
Teacher in classroom
Support would be given to bring poor teachers up to standard
Incompetent teachers could be given a year to improve or face being sacked, it has emerged.

Poor or struggling teachers face being placed on probation for a year, although support would be provided to help bring them up to standard.

Failure to do so could see them being dismissed under a scheme which has been approved by Education Minister Peter Peacock.

Only nine teachers have been sacked for incompetence in the past five years.

This is despite councils having more powers to dismiss those who are under-performing.

Teachers would be able to ask for help to improve or be required to participate in a structured personal development programme
Scottish Executive spokesman

Mr Peacock said that, although most teachers in Scotland were performing well, he was concerned about the small minority who were not having a significant impact on pupil education.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "The minister is looking at new ways to ensure that teachers who are struggling to meet required standards have their development requirements addressed in a transparent and fair way.

"Teachers would be able to ask for help to improve or be required to participate in a structured personal development programme to reach required standards.

"Only when it is clear that they have not developed sufficiently would they be assisted to find new careers."

Further action

Council education committees used to be responsible for sacking bad teachers, but the process was seen as being too complex.

Four years ago, the power passed to education directors, but it is understood the minister believes further action is still needed.

The probationary idea stems from the success of a teacher induction scheme.

This sees new recruits given a year-long placement in a school during which time they are supported by an experienced member of staff.

Plans to give the General Teaching Council for Scotland increased powers to remove sacked teachers permanently from the register have already been announced by the minister.

At present, teachers sacked by one local authority are able to get a job at a school elsewhere in the country.

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