The national teachers' agreement of 2001 has not led to the improvements in teaching practice promised as a result of better pay and conditions, and thereby threatens the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).
That is the stark warning from Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector of education, in a new report issued by HMIE this week.
As implementation moves from individual initiatives to universal adoption of the new curriculum, he cautions: "There is a risk that, in the face of this demanding agenda and a failure to use available resources to the full, changes may be superficial."
The report, Learning Together: Improving Teaching, Improving Learning, suggests that a renewed emphasis on continuing professional development could hold the key to CfE reaching its full potential, along with contributions from chartered teachers, leadership development and ICT.
Mr Donaldson added: "We have found a great deal of encouraging practice, but this is not in evidence consistently across all schools and education authorities, and not all parts of the agenda are yet being systematically addressed.
"Most importantly, there is not yet a clear enough link between these activities and improvements in children's and young people's learning." EB.