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Pace of reform won't slow

MINISTERS have acknowledged they will have to introduce a second education Bill, probably within 18 months, if they want to fully reform the profession.

Sam Galbraith, Children and Education Minister, this week hailed the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act "a landmark" after it received royal assent and crept into history as the first piece of education legislation in the Scottish Parliament.

But the Executive is already looking ahead to issues such as easier dismissal of incompetent teachers, teaching competencies and the powers and role of the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Top of the ministerial list are fresh powers for directors of education to dismiss failing teachers without recourse to council education committees, a move that has been repeatedly thwarted by union legal challenges.

Peter Peacock, Deputy Education Minister, spelt out a list of items that might require legislative action in a letter at he end of May to Mary Mulligan, Labour convener of the Parliament's education, culture and sport committee.

Mr Peacock noted that the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service was already consulting on revised disciplinary procedures. Equally, widening the GTC's powers over incompetence was beyond this year's legislation.

"There will undoubtedly be other opportunities in the not too distant future to bring forward any legislative proposals arising from those consultations," Mr Peacock wrote.

He added: "We intend to consult prior to future legislation on a proposal that there should at least be a statutory requirement on the GTC to produce a code of practice on the way it carries out all its investigating and disciplinary functions, including responding to complaints from the public and to explore any other legislative options to underpin a potentially expanding role for the GTC."

Reaction to the Act, page 3

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