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Shot across Labour's bow

Many of Labour's proposals for education are little more than a "vote-catching exercise" that owes more to English practice than the reality of Scottish classrooms, Marie Allan, immediate past president, told delegates.

Mrs Allan, a member of the General Teaching Council, said: "No one is denying there are incompetent teachers in Scotland, just as there are incompetent professionals in any other area, but the tenor of the document would make it appear there is an epidemic."

She had found 18 references to consultation in Labour's policy document and warned the party to heed the advice of teachers to invest in schools and tackle low morale. "We know what's going on," Mrs Allan said.

The scheme for replacing school boards with commissions was "a waste of money" and should be scrapped, Mrs Allan added. Boards had done a fine job in many places.

Jimmy Docherty, West Lothian, advised Helen Liddell, Labour's education spokeswoman, to "take this rubbish back to middle England and leave it there". It was not for traditional Labour-supporting teachers who were the backbone of the party's support.

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