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'Ironing out the glitches'

The only upbeat note during Mr Osler's address was struck by Derek McGinn, president of the HAS and headteacher of Culloden Academy in Inverness.

Mr McGinn acknowledged the step forward in taking account of socio-economic influences on schools and suggested they should concentrate on "ironing out the glitches in performance".

This would contribute towards schools achieving targets, rather than raising worries about the targets themselves.

But George Haggarty, head of St John's High in Dundee, reflected the mood, accusing the target-setting plans of imposing pressure on schools.

He said teachers could not understand why there was a "sudden demand for accelerated improvement when we have just been through three years of the most severe cuts".

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