Discussions are believed to have taken place in the Scottish Government on the merits of removing schools from local government control, The TES understands.
Buffeted by political embarrassment over its failure to make headway with its flagship policy to reduce P1-3 class sizes to 18, ministers have been considering their options - including direct rule.
Although this would fly in the face of the "concordat" partnership between local and central government, it is a reflection of the frustration felt in particular by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop. She is reported to have told directors of education at a private meeting in Dunkeld recently: "If a vote was to be taken in Parliament at the moment to take education out of local authority control, it would pass." nm.