There is now increasing fragmentation in the children's workforce, with the emergence of a two-tier system in schools, Keir Bloomer, chief executive of Clackmannanshire Council, told the seminar.
The introduction of large numbers of assistants was a substantial change which had taken place "as a result of a policy decision based upon no evidence whatsoever".
At the same time, there was a "continuing obsession" with input measures, such as having a target of increasing the number of teachers to 53,000 or achieving adult-child ratios at prescribed levels. "We have to get away from this - it is counter-productive," Mr Bloomer said.
Mr Bloomer, who was director of education in Clackmannanshire before he was appointed chief executive, said it was clear that greater collaboration would be part of any changes affecting children's services. Professional boundaries needed to be drawn in terms of functions, and not the services or the buildings in which the services were provided.
"There is a huge workforce and professional development issue in terms of seeing how we individualise or personalise the education service," Mr Bloomer said.