Wilson falls into line on sackings

1st August 1997 at 01:00
Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, is to honour Labour's election commitment to sack incompetent teachers, bringing Scotland into line with the tough action proposed south of the border.

Local authorities will be responsible for judging competency and devising ways of removing poor teachers from the classroom. Mr Wilson is to consult separately on extending the powers of the General Teaching Council to remove teachers from the register if they have been classed as incompetent.

The minister yesterday (Thursday) wrote to councils and unions asking for co-operation in dealing with teachers who are said to be failing children. "What is needed is a simple, clear procedure which will allow employers to identify poorly performing teachers; offer them the opportunity to improve by providing them with necessary assistance while monitoring their progress, and then, if no progress is possible, to remove them speedily but fairly from their employment as teachers," he states.

It is vital to develop ways of assessing the quality of teaching, Mr Wilson says. Councils are therefore being asked to spell out how their plans for appraisal dovetail with the new strategy. The Scottish Office is also consulting on appeals procedures, the need for consistency between authorities, the length of dismissal procedures and accountability mechanisms.

Mr Wilson said it was "more important than ever that there should be no room in education for those who are performing inadequately". Authorities have until the end of August to submit their plans. They have recently insisted such powers should be their responsibility and not the GTC's. More details of Government action will be announced in the autumn.

However, delegates at the Professional Association of Teachers' conference in Glasgow were quick to condemn Government moves. Susan Leslie, head of Colinsburgh primary in Fife, said: "The recent announcement to name and shame bad teachers has utterly and completely appalled me." She conceded there were poor teachers but said the best strategy was more rigorous control over entry to the profession.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today