Principals will gain the power to fire poor-performing teachers under a wide-ranging state government plan for Victorian students to rival the world's best.
However, the new responsibility has sparked fears principals could get caught in lengthy legal challenges if sacked teachers contest their terminations.
On Tuesday, the state government launched its far-reaching policy that aims to achieve ''world-leading education performance'' in the next 10 years.
The government will also consider fast-tracking professionals into the classroom based on a British program in which accredited schools recruit and train new teachers from other fields.
A spokeswoman for Teaching Profession Minister Peter Hall said there was not expected to be an increase in teacher dismissals as a result of the reforms. ''However, teachers have a responsibility to their students, and a consistent inability to perform, while rare, has a lasting and damaging effect on students,'' she said.
But Australian Principals Federation president Chris Cotching said he was concerned principals would lack the support they needed to fire teachers for repeated poor performance.
He said principals were unprepared to argue their case in court or before the Fair Work Commission if teachers challenged their dismissals. ''That's a great concern for us.''
A department spokeswoman said the procedure would remain the same for dismissing teachers who demonstrated ''sustained unsatisfactory performance''.
''But, in Victorian schools, principals have responsibility for performance and development of their staff,'' she said.
She said only six state school teachers were dismissed last year.
Australian Education Union state president Meredith Peace said the new responsibilities for principals would distract them from running their schools.
She said the department, which employs state school teachers, should continue to shoulder the responsibility for dismissing staff rather than principals. ''I just think it's a recipe for inconsistency and could lead to people being dismissed without any transparency or fair process being in place.''
Opposition spokesman for the teaching profession Steve Herbert attacked the government's new policy. ''This flimsy report is about blaming universities, teachers and principals - everyone but themselves - for the issues facing the school system,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Education Department secretary Richard Bolt wrote to principals on Tuesday to ''dispel some misunderstandings'' about performance assessments.
Earlier this month, the government revealed it expected up to 40 per cent of teachers eligible to progress up the pay scale could be knocked back. Mr Bolt said it was up to principals to decide how many staff met their own expectations and ''you are not being directed to manage to a quota. We do not have a negative view of staff in our schools.''