GIVING more power to Scottish headteachers is a “terrifying threat” one new school leader has said.

The warning comes in a written submission to a Scottish Government consultation on plans for a new Headteachers’ Charter.

The charter - part of a new Education Bill - will allow school leaders to shape the curriculum, decide on how funding is allocated and choose staff.

The rationale is a concern that decision-making by councils can be divorced from the realities of what is required at school level.

However, the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS), which represents the primary sector, said not all heads were ready to take on more responsibility.

Contributing to the AHDS submission one of its members said: “As a new headteacher this is simply terrifying. It feels like a threat.”

Other union members warned that current problems with bureaucracy and staff shortages were already making the job difficult.

One said: “As an individual who prioritises the teaching and learning in the classroom .... I have had less impact and this is to do with covering classes, managing bureaucracy and carrying out the tasks that no one else will do because it is not their job.”

Another added: “Staffing is key. Not enough teachers. Workforce need to be highly trained. Worried that if we go down the model of training on job we will lose this aspect.

“Already concerned by the quality of teachers coming through - not well trained in key numeracy and literacy skills, not being able to understand the job, not able to plan appropriately, understand curriculum and need a lot of support in schools.”

A third member commented: “If extra responsibilities then what can be let go of instead? There are only 24 hours in a day.

“Ultimately increased workload filters down onto the rest of the management team, so who is designating clarity of their roles and remits?”

The AHDS called for the readiness of individual headteachers to be taken into account.

The submission adds: “Empowerment of school leaders is welcome, but it is important to note that all headteachers are at a different point in their own development and capacity to effectively discharge this enhanced role.

“It will be crucial to ensure schools are not compromised by staffing shortages and that available staff are highly trained in key curricular areas such as languages and STEM as well as literacy and numeracy.”

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, launched the consultation last year after publishing plans for the Headteachers’ Charter.

Mr Swinney said the move would put more power in the hands of those who knew what was best for their school.

However, the proposals have attracted criticism from those who believe too much of a focus on headteachers ignores the critical role of councils and teachers in the running of successful schools.

Last week, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland warned moves to give headteachers more power could lead to a rise in the number of pupils excluded from school. They also warned heads could turn away more pupils with special needs.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has announced more than 2,380 schools will receive over £120 million next year as part of Pupil Equity Funding.

The money will be spent at the discretion of schools on initiatives to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

Mr Swinney said: “Schools have a significant role to play in ensuring every child is given the right support to help them achieve their full potential.

“The funding is targeted towards schools who have the highest numbers of pupils receiving free school meals, so that the money is spent on the children who need it most.”

The council area which will receive the largest share of funds is Glasgow, with £21m shared between 191 schools.

More than £10m is being spent on 157 schools in Fife while 122 Edinburgh schools will receive a share of £7.5m.

The cash was welcomed by Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC), but she said the use of free school meals data was flawed.

She said: “It is a very blunt instrument that is not a robust way to allocate this fund because not all families claim, many just miss the cut-off and take-up drops off as children get older.”