The Scottish Government has scrapped its flagship Education Bill arguing recent school improvements mean it is no longer necessary.

In June last year, John Swinney, the Education Secretary, published the draft Bill, but immediately delayed its introduction to see whether councils could improve performance without a change in the law.

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

It was also brought forward to underpin new regional bodies set up to support school improvement - known as regional improvement collaboratives.

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And the government wanted to disband the General Teaching Council for Scotland watchdog and set up a new Education Workforce Council in its place.

However, Mr Swinney was unable to secure support for his proposals from rival political parties at Holyrood.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament Mr Swinney said faster progress had taken place without legislation and that he was optimistic improvements would continue.

He said: "Fast-tracking our education reforms was intended to give schools and teachers more control, quicker than could be achieved through legislation and it is clear to me we have achieved this.

“Already we are empowering schools through the Scottish Attainment Challenge and headteachers are seeing real results in closing the poverty related gap in attainment or wellbeing.

“We want to continue to build on this progress and ensure headteachers and schools have the autonomy and flexibility to make decisions that affect their learners wherever possible."

“Our work throughout the year, in partnership with local government, teacher representatives and the wider education sector, has already made significant progress and I can confirm as a result of our successful collaborative approach I will not introduce an Education Bill.”

Opposition politicians argued there was no evidence of any improvement or better collaborative working.

Iain Gray, education spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party, said: "It’s beyond time that John Swinney woke up and showed some humility over his bungled plans to reform Scotland’s education system.

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“His so called reforms have been pushed through against opposition on all sides. It really is time he listened to teachers, parents and parliament and got the fundamentals of resourcing and curriculum right."

Stephen McCabe, education spokesman for council umbrella body Cosla welcomed the decision.

He said: “Cosla and wider local government have worked closely with the Scottish Government and others to ensure we deliver an empowered education system that makes certain all children and young people get the most from their time at school.

“We have always been clear these changes can be achieved by taking a non-legislative route.

"As such we very much welcome the fact that the Deputy First Minister supports and recognises the good progress that has been made and we will continue to take forward the reforms to Scottish education without the need for legislation."

Last year, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens all argued that legislation was unnecessary.

The proposals were also unpopular with teaching unions, parents and councils who argued many of the suggestions – such as the right to hire staff - would fall foul of existing legislation governing staffing arrangements.

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It has also been suggested many of the proposed changes – such as setting up a Headteachers’ Charter - do not require legislation.

The regional collaboratives are already in operation without a change in the law.

Previous Bills which have been published, but not introduced to parliament include the 2010 Referendum Bill.

Plans for the Referendum Bill were included in the SNP’s 2007 manifesto and subsequently published, but it was not voted on because it would have been blocked by opposition parties.