A PLAN to make it easier to get rid of bad teachers has been welcomed by Worcester headteachers.

The Government has confirmed plans to allow schools to sack under-performing teachers in only one term.

At present, the process can take anything up to a year.

A three-hour limit on observing teachers in the classroom will also be scrapped, to allow schools to decide on observation times, and teachers will be assessed every year against a set of key skills known as Teachers’ Standards.

Education Secretary Michael Gove believes it is necessary because poor teaching damages children’s education. However, the National Union of Teachers called the plan a “bully’s charter”.

Alun Williams, head of Nunnery Wood High School, said he was broadly supportive of the move if it was clear that it referred to incompetent teachers.

He said: “I think some of the language that is flowing around is unhelpful.

“We all underperform from time to time for a variety of reasons, illness or family circumstances.

“There is a time when teachers need support and help.

“But when you have got somebody who is incompetent you need them out of school and quickly because they will be ruining children’s education. The system at the moment is one where you have to have a teacher doing a bad job for an extended period of time so you can prove they are incompetent.

“The amount of damage that can be done (to a child’s education) is huge and can be difficult or impossible to remedy.”

However, Mr Williams said teachers would feel nervous about the plan.

He said: “As human beings, even the best teachers may think, ‘do they mean me?’ ‘What if I have a bad day?’ So I think there will need to be checks and balances in place.”

Julie Farr, head of Bishop Perowne CE Performing Arts College, said: “Our professional responsibility is to give the best opportunities and the best quality learning and teaching to students. If a teacher is falling short of that responsibility first support needs to be put in place but we have to balance that support against the fact that our greater responsibility is to children who have one opportunity and who are at school for a short time.”

The plans will come into force this autumn.