Scottish teachers have slammed plans for an overhaul of the education system to address declining standards with a warning the changes are "politically" driven and regressive.
The prospect of councils' role in running schools being scaled back has been branded "tokenistic" by the EIS union with a warning that it could mean even more "unecessary" red tape and bureaucracy for teachers.
The global PISA survey of schooling this week found Scotland had tumbled down the international education standings and now sits behind England and Northern Ireland, as well as a host of other nations.
Education secretary John Swinney recently set out plans for change after a governance review proposed the creation of new "educational regions" prompting concerns that councils role in running schools could be sidelined. Headteachers are also to get stronger control in running schools, including over hiring and firing.
But the EIS has warned in its official response to the changes that they are being rushed to meet ‘political rather than educational imperatives.’
Concerns are also raised about schools being burdened with administrative functions, with the ‘increasingly politicised" role of teaching quango Education Scotland also criticised.
"The EIS is not convinced about the benefit of the proposed extension to schools of responsibilities that currently sit with local authorities," the response states.
"This appears to be either potentially tokenistic or an unnecessary imposition of additional bureaucratic layers to school operations. Schools are already part of a local authority’s corporate responsibilities."
Labour said the SNP could not use the report to justify forcing through reforms opposed by Scotland’s teachers.
Education spokesman Iain Gray said: “Coming after a brutal assessment of the SNP’s record on education is this damning verdict on their so-called “reforms” for the future.
“Labour will listen to the views of teachers on what is best for the future of our schools – not the views of a government which has failed our pupils in the first place.
“The EIS is clear in its opposition of the SNP’s plans to centralise education, believing them to be about politics rather than what is best for our schools."