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United in opposition

UNIONS and local authorities have joined forces to challenge ministers' emphasis on head_teachers, a move already visible south of the border. Ronnie Smith, the Educational Institute of Scotland's general secretary, warned of "another agenda" if heads are given a special place in any new talks on pay and conditions.

Following last week's grants to schools and the newcategory for heads on the General Teaching Council, Mr Smith cautioned: "I wonder if we are seeing the pieces put in place for a more direct relationship between schools and central government."

Danny McCafferty, the authorities' spokesman, said by passing councils would lead to " chaos, confusion and conflict when what we need is stability and consensus."

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