Scotland's education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is preparing to intervene to stop local councils cutting teacher numbers.
The BBC understands that Ms Somerville is considering options and is likely to announce action within days.
She is also expected to prevent the number of school hours being reduced.
It follows reports that several local authorities, including SNP-led Glasgow city council, are considering education cuts to balance their budgets.
The move is expected to trigger a major row between the Scottish government and councils over funding levels and where power lies.