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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Teachers 'not making the grade'
Poor teachers will be placed on "probation"
Some teachers in Scotland have not "stepped up to the mark" and must adapt to a new era in schools, according to the education minister.

In a keynote speech to teachers in Glasgow, Peter Peacock demanded more flexibility from staff, in return for improved working conditions.

The minister said most teachers had adapted to change following the 2001 McCrone review of the profession.

He repeated plans to put poorly performing teachers on "probation".

If they do not improve they will be removed from schools, he said.

'Professional standard'

Speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival, Mr Peacock said: "We will continue to invest in the profession, giving teachers the trust and professional freedoms needed to flourish.

"However, I am making it clear that we expect the highest standards from our teachers.

"That means taking action to improve the performance of those failing to make the grade."

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the largest teaching union, the EIS, said teachers had to reach a "very high professional standard" before they could qualify.

He said: "In the fairly rare instances where an individual teacher is experiencing difficulty in meeting the agreed standard, then assistance and support should be provided in an attempt to remedy the situation.

"However, if any individual is completely and consistently failing to meet the agreed standard, then it is probably not in anyone's best interest for that person to remain in a teaching role."

Cosla, the body which represents Scotland's local authorities, said they were "surprised" by Mr Peacock's comments.

Education spokesman councillor Charlie Gray said: "The hiring and firing of teachers is a matter for education authorities not government ministers."

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30 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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