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Wake up, says Pignatelli

Schools may deserve the hit squads being sent in south of the border because of their reluctance to admit faults in teaching, Frank Pignatelli, former director of education in Strathclyde and now a newspaper executive, told the Scottish School Board Association's conference in Glasgow last weekend.

Mr Pignatelli said in-service training had failed to focus on incompetent teachers and unions had been reluctant to admit they existed. "That is why we have got Michael Barber, for God's sake, an adviser to the Labour Party, talking about sending in hit squads to sort out weak schools. Maybe we deserve it because we have never publicly said here is something that will help you develop skills you do not have. We pretend we have got those skills," he said.

David Blunkett, the Education and Employment Secretary, this week named 18 "failing" schools in England and unveiled plans to send in "help squads, not hit squads". Special Measures Action Recovery Teams will give advice and may press for changes in management and better teaching.

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