TEACHING unions have finally agreed to release their stranglehold over local authorities' powers to sack incompetent staff as part of the post-McCrone professionalism.
The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers this week backed a framework for disciplining poor teachers which will leave the final decision with education officials and not a majority of a council's education committee.
Unions fought for many years to preserve teachers' special treatment but now accept they should be subject to the same employment procedures as other staff.
Grounds for dismissal, based on a code of competence to be applied consistently across the country, are being redrafted by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and should be finalised within the next few months. They will dovetail with the SNCT agreement.
Councils are not expected to proceed with the code until it has been approved by ministers, employers and unions. It will be left to local negotiating committees to introduce the framework.
Cathy Jamieson, Education Minister, said: "As with all walks of life, there will be some teachers who do not meet the necessary standards. Most of them simply need additional training or management support. However, where teachers are unable to make the necessary improvements it is vital that we have effective mechanisms in place for dealing with them."
Glenise Borthwick, GTC spokeswoman, said: "It was generally agreed that the code was clear, succinct and realistic and all responses to the consultation welcomed the level of the support system within the process."