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A nettle that heads must grasp

* Greg Dempster, general secretary of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, said: "It is a balancing act for heads between supporting members of staff as far as they can to improve their skills and performance and recognising that there comes a point at which the heads must ask themselves whether individuals are responding to the help that is there and whether they are going to make it as a teacher."

Mr Dempster added: "It's not a pleasant thing to have to deal with for any side. It's the headteacher who will have to start the proceedings. But as part of their professional role it is a nettle they need to grasp."

* Bill McGregor, general secretary of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, said systems were already in place for new recruits. "The area of concern is the person who has been in post and has not cracked it at all.

We are talking about a very small, persistent hard core who are frankly quite appalling and should not be there at all," Mr McGregor said.

"It's not fair to say headteachers are ignoring the problem, although some may be. The great majority of our members are saying they have tried everything but local authorities will not bite the bullet and take the final step."

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