Headteachers and school governors are to be trained on how to improve under-performing teachers.

The measure is part of a 15-point Bradford Council action plan designed to drive up standards in the district’s schools.

When the plan was being drawn up, one head teacher had raised concerns that the Council was too ‘risk-averse’ when it came to dealing with teachers who were not up to the job, and was often unwilling to see them dismissed in case the matter ended up in costly employment tribunals.

From next month, the authority will embark on a wide-scale programme of training for governors and headteachers on how to retrain and, in the most extreme cases, to dismiss staff who are failing to do their job to a high enough standard.

Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said the changes would “not necessarily” result in more under-performing teachers leaving the profession.

He said the main aim was to ensure consistency and make sure the process happened in a timely way.

He said: “If you do get to a point where you are in capability assessments, it is not in anybody’s interests for them to be massively prolonged.”

Ian Murch, Bradford spokesman for the National Union of Teachers, said he backed the training, as long as it was not aimed at sacking more teachers.

He said: “There’s nothing wrong with training people in how to properly use processes, as long as they’re not saying the purpose of this training is to make sure that more teachers are dismissed.”

But he said it would be a mistake to think that it was currently too difficult to tackle under-performing teachers.

He said: “Teachers are under more pressure and more scrutiny than any other group of workers.”

Councillor Roger L’Amie, the Conservative spokesman for education, welcomed the roll-out of the training, saying consistency was key.

He said: “I think there is a two-pronged approach to this. Firstly, under-performing teachers have to be identified early and given opportunities for re-training or sometimes possibly a move, to allow them to come up to speed.

“Then there does need, as a last resort, to be a fairly quick method of getting rid of teachers who are just not up to the job.”