Athole McLauchlan, the primary teacher who ran the survey about the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s registration fee increase, said: “I never expected anything like 5,000 responses. I think it’s a tipping point.
“No one would argue that £15 is a lot in terms of our everyday expenditure, but it’s the principle, the way it’s been executed and the pretence to consultation. The collective anger on social media has shown how ineffective national agencies are at engaging effectively with teachers.
“One justification has been, ‘Well, lots of other professional bodies are much more expensive,’ but you have to be a bit more grown-up than that. People aren’t really seeing what the benefits are for the extra £15. I’ve got lots of respect for the GTCS – it does some very important things – but it’s clear that lots of teachers aren’t all that clear about its role.
“And Professional Update, which I’m actually a big believer in, is a pretty blinkered system just now. It’s behind a firewall, you’re not sharing things. The irony is that on Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, blogs and TeachMeets, we’re sharing a nd helping each other – doing what Professional Update is meant to, but more fluidly. That’s much better for leading teacher professionalism than you and your line manager working on something that no one else sees. People still think that Professional Update looks and feels like an MOT for teachers.
“The reaction to the increase is a combination of things that goes beyond the GTCS. There’s a grinding, neverending set of changes and questioning about our professionalism that’s got to us. The culture is about accountability and pressure to up your game. People are angry and pissed off.”