Scrap the GTC!
They are trying to find candidates to stand in the elections, nominations are open between October and December.
1. The General Teaching Council has never won teachers’ confidence. A survey by the National Association of Schoolteachers found that 88% of its members thought the GTC was ‘ineffective’. The turnout in the last GTC elections in 2004 was a derisory 10%.
2. The disciplinary process is slow, expensive and cumbersome. Teachers can wait for anything up to a year before their case is heard. The average cost of a hearing is £12,000.
3. The GTC has failed to speak out on issues that affect teachers. The ‘voice for teachers’? A bad case of laryngitis.
4. Some of the cases that have gone to disciplinary hearings have been trivial. Why was a teacher charged (and subsequently cleared) with “making silly faces and derogatory remarks about other members of staff, mimicking silly walks and using foul language”?
5. The new suitability declaration, where teachers will have to declare any indiscretions which happened in childhood or early adulthood or those that are entirely personal is an intrusion.
6. The GTC has failed to communicate with teachers or to allow teachers to express opinions. The termly GTC magazine is almost entirely teacher-free. Meetings with teachers are rarely held.
7. Money spent on the ‘Teacher Learning Academy’ is just another example of teachers paying for their own training. The GTC should concentrate on one job, maintaining a register of teachers, and do it well.
8. When it was established in 2000 the GTC set itself the task of “Championing teachers and advocating change and improvements on their behalf”. By its own standards it has been an abysmal failure.
9. The GTC has never been financially independent. When only 14% of teachers were willing to make ‘voluntary contributions’ the government had to step in and paid teachers an extra £33 which was then taken out of our wages.
10. Scrapping the GTC isn’t the most important issue facing teachers. Most of us don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘We’ve got to scrap the GTC!’ But in the spirit of ‘My Name is Earl’ let’s start with number 97 on the list.