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Surgeon Sam takes a scalpel to the cancer of bad teaching

A visit to Greenock High has left Sam Galbraith with the impression that there is strong support for the principles of target-setting but "some concern about the technicalities and common standards". The situation will be kept under continuing review, he said.

There will be no let up either in the crackdown on bad teaching. "We are not threatening anyone. We want a flexible system and we will consult on that," the new Education Minister said. "But we shouldn't assume teachers are different from any other profession, who all have good and bad members.

"You wouldn't want a poor surgeon to operate on you. Your child's education can be affected by a poor teacher but I do not think there are many of them around.

"You have certain duties and responsibilities as a professional and one is to introduce standards in that profession, so that when someone doesn't make that standard you are part of the solution for dealing with it."

Mr Galbraith believes morale will be improved as the Government's excellence fund makes an increasing impact and as more teachers are employed. The coalition agreement between Labour and the Liberal Democrats has pledged to deliver 1,000 extra teachers.

"There is no magic bullet," he said, "but I believe as we build up standards, improve the status of teachers and improve quality we will make teaching a more attractive profession."

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