THE Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee is said to have been unable to update teachers' conditions of service and the best teachers are continuing to leave the classroom to achieve promotion and higher pay. Ministers want the provision for local deals within SJNC terms and conditions to become "real flexibility with real discretion to the headteacher".
The Government intends to consult on the machinery for national negotiation, taking into account progress in the current negotiations. It also will consult urgently on modernising the 1956 Schools Code which governs promoted posts and other management issues.
Irrelevant parts which detract from attempts to raise attainment and pursue effectiveness and efficiency would be removed. "We have no intention of allowing outdated central regulation to stand in the way," ministers say.
There will be consultation on designing standards that would denote an excellent teacher, with the aim of keeping such teachers in the classroom. Pilot schemes will be the basis for a general model from 2000.
The support of teachers and employers is sought for a less cumbersome but fair way of dismissing the minority of incompetent teachers. Detailed proposals will be issued shortly and the Inspectorate together with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Accounts Commission will look at how existing disciplinary procedures are used and to what effect.
The new parliament will be asked to consider legislation to give the General Teaching Council power to deregister teachers where the case is referred by an education authority because it raises sufficiently serious concerns about an individual's fitness.
There should be new arrangement for more coherent induction programmes for probationers and a framework for continuing professional development for all teachers. As part of the expansion of the GTC's role, the keeping of a central record of teachers' progress within registration data will be considered.
When needed, early and swift action should be taken by councils to address underperformance in schools. If that does not happen, more radical action might be required including the possible appointment by ministers of a team to give teaching and management support to the school.
The Scottish parliament will be asked to consider legislation to ensure that education authorities take appropriate action and to give ministers power to intervene in cases of continuing weakness.
All authorities will be evaluated by HMI on a statutory basis.