SWEEPING reforms to Scotland's schools that will hand headteachers robust new powers have been branded "farcical" after it emerged they have been pushed through uncosted.

John Swinney's plan to transfer a raft of powers from local authorities to individual schools and headteachers – which would be overseen by new “regional improvement collaboratives” – have faced opposition from rival parties and council bodies, which fears it "erodes local democratic accountability".

The reforms have been hailed as the biggest shake-up school governance in a generation and hailed by the education secretary as a bid to "free up our teachers to teach".

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The reforms will see head teachers take responsibility for closing the attainment gap, choosing school staff and deciding curriculum content.

However, the government's Next Step documents – which outlines their policy proposals in detail – states that the new regional bodies will “draw on Education Scotland staff, local authority staff and others” that will be "funded through a combination of decentralising the national resources of Education Scotland and pooling of local government resources".

The Scottish Government was asked to provide projected costs for the introduction and annual operation of the new regional bodies.

The information now released shows that the government is unable to provide the financial details requested.

The response stated that a "full financial memorandum" would be produced alongside any future legislation, with other changes, including additional funding to support the reforms, considered as part of the budget process.

The government also advised that work on "defining the detail" of the regional bodies is ongoing and that it is "therefore not possible to provide any costing at this stage".

A response to a Freedom of Information request also revealed that officials are unable to provide an “exact breakdown” of the meetings which took place throughout the development of the policy.

The government has confirmed, however, that none of these meetings were minuted despite ministerial involvement.

Scottish Labour's Education Spokesperson Iain Gray MSP criticised both the proposals and the lack of available financial information.

He said: "It is simply farcical that the SNP government cannot put a price tag on its education reforms – but it just sums up the approach of SNP ministers who appear to just make it up as they go along when it comes to education policy.

It's frankly embarrassing that John Swinney, for so long seen as the safe pair of hands with an iron grip on the numbers, can't put a price tag on his plans.

"John Swinney's half-baked reforms were rejected by academics, unions and teachers – yet he is pressing ahead with them anyway, using Tory support in Holyrood to get these plans through parliament.

"The real reform our schools need is an end to the cuts and more funding. That's why Labour have said for more than a year that the SNP government should use their powers over tax to deliver extra funding for education."

Ross Greer MSP,  education spokesman for the Scottish Greens, also rejected the government’s plans.

He said: “These reforms are nothing more than a power grab by a Scottish Government determined to ignore the real problems in our education system, namely the resources and thousands of staff which have been cut by a decade of austerity budgets. It’s quite clear that the SNP don’t yet have a clear plan for any of this and would rather bury their heads in the sand than actually listen to teachers, pupils and parents and acknowledge that their squeeze on council budgets has brought on so many of the problems we now have in our schools.”

A spokesperson for COSLA, the umbrella body representing Scotland’s local authorities, said: “It remains unclear to us what the overall financial implications of these proposals are.

“We would expect new and additional cash for any proposed changes of this scale and would resist any attempt for it to be taken from existing local government resources.”

The Scottish Government declined to offer additional comment.