SCHOOLS reforms are based on a “flawed” understanding of the education system and won’t work without more funding, ministers have been warned.

Earlier this year, John Swinney, the Education Secretary, had to shelve his flagship Education Bill because of a lack of support.

The legislation was intended to introduce a new Headteachers’ Charter giving school leaders the power to set the curriculum, hire staff and control their own finances.

Mr Swinney will this week tell the Scottish Parliament’s education committee how he intends to press ahead with reforms without the proposed legislation.

However, Cosla, the umbrella body for councils, attacked the government’s previous thinking and its current approach in a written submission to the committee.

Cosla said: “It became clear that the Scottish Government had made a number of assumptions about the current governance system ... we found the assumptions underpinning the education governance review ... were all flawed.

“We share the Scottish Government’s strong commitment to narrowing the attainment gap, but this cannot be achieved in the classroom alone.

“We believe the proposed approach puts at risk the multi-agency improvements that national and local government has made so far towards improving the situation for children living in poverty.”

A separate submission from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union called for autonomy for schools rather than headteachers.

It said: “The EIS articulated an even greater change than simply empowering headteachers, advocating for a democratic schools model predicated upon ... leadership at all levels, collaborative working and transparent accountability.

“The fact remains that Scottish education is overly hierarchical in its structures, to the detriment of our system. Why not a Schools’ Charter?”

The EIS went on to warn that the capacity of councils to support schools had been diminished by the impact of austerity.

The union said: “Irrespective of what model emerges, if it is not supported by substantial investment it is likely to founder.”

Meanwhile, schools quango Education Scotland is to conduct three national inspections to gather evidence on empowering schools on the themes of readiness for empowerment, curriculum leadership and parent and pupil participation.