GIVING more power to headteachers could be "disastrous" if the scheme is rushed without proper planning, an academic has warned.

Professor David Cole-Hamilton, a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's education committee, raised the concern as the Scottish Government presses ahead with plans for a Headteachers Charter.

Under the proposals heads will be given more of a say over funding and the curriculum at the expense of councils.

Writing in The Herald, Mr Cole-Hamilton said some headteachers would be "ready and enthusiastic", but others would apprehensive and unprepared.

READ MORE: Monitoring of Scottish schools "woefully inadequate" warns top academic

He said: "Current headteachers have been selected for the ability over a range of relevant skills, but these may not include some of those that will be required under the new charter.

"Although the changes could lead to increased dynamism and improved local accountability, a rushed implementation in schools which are not prepared could be disastrous.

"Any major change can lead to unintentional consequences, from which it can take substantial time and effort to recover. By piloting the changes in a selection of schools with headteachers chosen to represent all levels of awareness and readiness, the chances of smooth and successful change will be greatly enhanced."

The charter - part of a new Education Bill - will give more powers to headteachers to shape the curriculum, decide on how funding is allocated and select staff.

The rationale is a concern that decision-making by councils can be divorced from the realities of what is required at school level.

READ MORE: Monitoring of Scottish schools "woefully inadequate" warns top academic

The Scottish Government argues the reforms are focussed on giving schools and headteachers more power and money to raise standards and close the attainment gap.

A spokeswoman said: “Our reform proposals are based on international evidence of how high-performing education systems work and will deliver extra help for teachers in the classroom, more professional development and a stronger voice for parents and pupils."