Primary teachers could start working in secondary schools from next year to help tackle low attainment in S1 and S2. All it requires is a change to the Schools (Scotland) Code of 1956, not even a change in legislation, says a Scottish Executive spokesman.
As it stands, the Code prevents primary staff from teaching a secondary pupil unless he or she requires support for learning. Proposals to change this will go out to consultation by the summer, with a view to getting regulations into Parliament by December or January, in time for the 2005-06 session, he says.
"It's likely that primary teachers who want to teach in secondary will receive extra training so they are fit to teach older pupils. The expectation is that they will have to do continuing professional development, while they are on the job."
However, a spokeswoman for the General Teaching Council for Scotland says it would wish teachers to retrain before changing sectors. A primary teacher who wants a secondary teaching qualification needs to:
* have a degree in the appropriate subject or undertake the required academic study in the subject,
* complete a full time 18-week Additional Teaching Qualification (Secondary) course, which ensures teachers are familiar with the pedagogy and so on, and
* complete an additional 95 days of probation service in the secondary sector and in their subject.
"A primary teacher who wishes to teach in secondary schools will have to meet the appropriate requirements. Equally, a secondary teacher who wishes to teach all subjects in primary schools will be required to complete the appropriate ATQ," says the spokeswoman.