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Teaching standards safeguarded
New powers are being proposed that will stop teachers threatened with disciplinary action avoiding a hearing by moving to a job in another area.
The proposed powers, being laid before the Scottish Parliament today, will give the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) the right to examine competence cases even if a teacher has already resigned from their post.
In the past teachers have been able to avoid being struck off by moving to a job in another area before their employer has set a date for a disciplinary hearing. The Education Secretary pledged earlier this year to look at what additional powers the GTCS might need to stop incompetent teachers moving jobs to avoid disciplinary action.
The change is part of a major set of changes that will fulfil the Scottish Government's commitment to make the GTCS an independent body and introduce a system of re-accreditation for teachers in Scotland.
Mr Russell said:
"The vast majority of our teachers are of a high quality and these changes are all about maintaining those very high standards and reinforcing the standing and professionalism of Scotland's teachers.
"The GTCS was the world's first professional teaching body and is now set to become the world's first fully independent professional teaching body, helping to raise the already high standards we have in Scotland.
"The GTCS will be asked to deliver a modern and proportionate scheme of teacher re-accreditation that will be a further step towards ensuring that Scottish education provides the best start for every young person.
"It will also introduce new measures to limit the risk of a teacher, whose employer is considering taking disciplinary action, taking up another job before disciplinary procedures have got underway. This will close the loophole that enables incompetent teachers to move jobs without the GTCS being alerted and being able to act.
"We need to ensure appropriate procedures are in place to deal with the small minority of teachers who are not up to the job and I will continue to look at other ways of ensuring only the very best teachers are employed in Scottish schools."