Demise of the GTCE

02 Jun 2010

 So the axe has fallen on the General Teaching Council for England. It's no great surprise. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, was never a great fan. He now intends to get Parliamentary approval for abolition.

Nor, importantly, were several of the large teachers' unions, who I fear never quite got over jealous fears that the GTC might be a rival.

And maybe that was what it was meant to be. I recall Labour ministers in Tony Blair's first government expressing the hope that the creation of the GTC would help to "professionalise" teachers. They thought making it a self-regulating profession - like law and medicine - would transform teachers' self-image.

 But the GTC has not really proved to be a leader of the profession. It may have done some useful work but the dominance of the unions prevented New Labour's hopes from being realised.

For Michael Gove this is part of his drive to "give teachers greater freedom and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy". But that is a slightly odd view -- wasn't the GTC meant to be about teachers taking responsibility for their own profession? It was not meant to be part of a government drive to add to their burdens.

But it is to go. What next, I wonder? It's a great excuse for cutting things... just saying that it will add to teachers' freedom.

Here's Michael Gove's statement in full:

This Government trusts the professionals. That's why we want to give teachers greater freedoms and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. Since I have been shadowing education and more recently held the brief in Government there has been one organisation of whose purpose and benefit to teachers I am deeply sceptical - the General Teaching Council for England. I believe this organisation does little to raise teaching standards or professionalism. Instead it simply acts as a further layer of bureaucracy while taking money away from teachers. I want there to be stronger and clearer arrangements in relation to teacher misconduct and I am not convinced the GTCE is the right organisation to take these forward. I intend to seek authority from Parliament to abolish the General Teaching Council for England.


User Comments

margaret morrissey - 02 Jun 2010


What is interesting the NUT press release today seems to say - I quote - ""Rather than have outright abolition, all teachers ought to be consulted on whether they believe a professional council for teachers should be maintained. " This coming from a Union who created hell when it was introduced and complained teachers had to pay, as if NUT membership if free now wonder if they need a professional body I give in . I quiet sure what it achieved other than conferences and letting a lot of teachers back into the classroom that should not have been there

Pat Harrington - 04 Jun 2010

Gove comments inaccurate

I am generally sympathetic to the abolition of the GTC, an intrusive and costly body hated by most teachers. One aspect of the announcement from Michael Gove which concerned me, however, was his ill-informed remarks on the case of Adam Walker. As I represented Mr Walker (a BNP member hauled before the GTC) as his Solidarity Trade Union Representative it was clear to me that Mr Gove had no understanding of the evidence in the case.

Mr Gove said:-

And when the GTCE was recently asked to rule on a BNP teacher who had posted poisonous filth on an extremist website they concluded that his description of immigrants as animals wasn't racist so he couldn't be struck off".

The facts are these:-
1. Mr Walker posted to a general forum in his local area not an "extremist website".
2. He posted under a pseudonym and made no mention of his workplace.
3. His comments concerned some (not all) immigrants and in particular those who abused the hospitality and protection afforded by our country by committing crimes such as rape.
4. "Immigrants" is not a racial term as immigrants to our country are comprised of people from all races.
5. The GTC as a public body has a duty to uphold the European Convention on Human Rights.
6. Any restriction on the right of Mr Walker to freedom of expression would have to be shown to be legitimate, necessary, proportionate and meet a pressing social need.
7. Evidence was presented to show that Mr Walker was an excellent teacher, who improved grades and treated his pupils with the utmost respect.

Solidarity Trade Union

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