Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, has repeatedly told headteachers and local authorities to act against bad teachers but it has now emerged that the Scottish Executive has yet to give the power to the General Teaching Council for Scotland to strike incompetent teachers from its register.
Four years ago ministers approved the Standard for Full Registration, with a four-stage competence test, enabling a local authority to refer a dismissed teacher to the GTC. Any teacher deemed to be incompetent who resigned ahead of dismissal would also be referred.
But Mr Peacock has disclosed that new powers will only be given to the GTC later this year.
A council spokesman said that despite the delay it was unlikely any dismissed teacher would be able to find work because of reference checks.
An Executive spokeswoman said: "The legislation requires some of the disciplinary rules to be agreed with the Lord President of the Court of Session before they can be brought into operation. We are now nearing the final stages of the process."
Mr Peacock said this week he wanted education directors to act "swiftly, fairly and effectively" against poor classroom performance. "We changed the outdated rules governing teacher discipline so that performance issues can be dealt with quickly," he said.