The government has confirmed plans to make it easier for head teachers in England to sack under-performing staff. It says under new arrangements coming in from September, poor teachers could be removed within a term instead of a year, which can be the case at present. The education secretary, Michael Gove, says schools have been \"tangled in red tape\" for too long when dealing with struggling teachers. Teachers say the changes could be a bully\'s charter, but heads back them. The government proposed the changes in May last year and has consulted on them. It has now confirmed that the procedure for dealing with under-performing teachers will be \"simplified\" and given a shorter minimum time-frame. It says in straightforward cases, the process could be completed in nine weeks instead of the current minimum of 24 weeks. There will also be a requirement for teachers to be assessed every year on whether they meet new standards, which cover teaching and \"personal and professional conduct\". The government is also consulting on proposals that it says would deal with the problem of poor teachers being moved on from school to school. These would place a duty on schools to tell another school thinking of hiring a teaching, if asked, whether he or she had been through what are known as \"capability procedures\". \'Nobody benefits\' Mr Gove said there were many excellent teachers and heads - and that the changes would improve schools by helping them identify extra training needs. \"For far too long, schools have been tangled up in complex red tape when dealing with teachers who are struggling,\" he said. \"That is why these reforms focus on giving schools the responsibility to deal with this issue fairly and quickly. \"Schools need to be able to dismiss more quickly those teachers who, despite best efforts, do not perform to the expected standard. Future employers also need to know more about the strengths and weaknesses of teachers they are potentially employing. \"Nobody benefits when poor teaching is tolerated. It puts pressure on other teachers and undermines children\'s education.\" The changes will rightly be seen by teachers as an attack on their professionalism and will anger and depress them ” End Quote Christine Blower National Union of Teachers The annual report of England\'s schools inspectors Ofsted in November highlighted variable teaching standards as a cause for concern. It said: \"Although teaching has been judged to be inadequate this year in just 3% of schools, it is a serious concern that teaching in over 40% of primary and secondary schools is no better than satisfactory and is only outstanding in around 4%.\" However, the inspectors said the quality of teaching in schools had improved. The changes come as the government in England disbands the General Teaching Council for England - the teachers\' professional body which took decisions on whether teachers should be barred. Decisions about whether to sack teachers are taken at school level. Head teachers had asked for changes to the present system. Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: \"The simplest way to protect teachers is to be seen to be taking responsibility for our own performance. \"Everyone deserves to know how they are doing and how they can develop, and this needs to be done out in the open. The revised procedures reflect a large proportion of NAHT\'s hopes. They are simple and flexible, firm but fair. \"A streamlined approach to capability will, on the rare occasions that it is needed, help schools act more decisively in pupils\' interests and reduce the conflict that these actions can generate.\" \'Bully\'s charter\' But unions representing classroom teachers have criticised the changes. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: \"The changes to the appraisal and capability policies will rightly be seen by teachers as an attack on their professionalism and will anger and depress them in equal measure. \"What the government proposes is potentially a bully\'s charter. \"If schools are serious about addressing the issue of teacher competence should it arise, they must do it in a fair fashion and not be constrained by a one-term time limit. It is far better to improve teachers than to seek measures to sack them.\" Education is devolved around the UK. The General Teaching Council for Scotland is consulting on processes for dealing with incompetent teachers, and proposals could see poor teacher barred more quickly. In Wales, there has been a consultation on the system for appraising teachers. A spokesman for the Welsh government said: \"It is important that poor performance in schools is dealt with effectively and fairly to ensure that standards across the board are not affected. \"Although we currently have no plans to change the current system relating to capability of teachers, we are working on comprehensive guidance to ensure the procedures we do have in place work effectively.\"