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'Empower us to sack bad staff'

New powers are needed to sack underperforming heads and teachers, the poll of governors suggests.

More than three in four who expressed a view in The TES-NGA survey said it was too difficult to remove "failing" heads and teachers. Just 1 per cent of respondents strongly disagreed that it was too difficult to fire school staff.

The results follow the revelation in last week's TES that the number of heads and senior leaders being forced out of their jobs has increased five-fold over the past four years. In 2008, 150 secondary school leaders were made to leave their jobs, up from just 30 in 2004-05.

Phil Revell, the chief executive of the NGA, said it was right that the process of removing staff was not easy, but that too many underperforming teachers were able to stay in their posts.

"If you follow the right procedures, it is possible to remove underperforming staff," he said. "But schools often find that they don't get good advice from their local authorities."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said too many heads were being forced out despite improving their schools.

But he agreed that some schools fall victim to poor advice and support from their local authority when wanting to remove substandard classroom teachers.

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