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Bid for separate status ruffles feathers

Neil Munro reports from last week's meeting of the General Teaching Council in Falkirk.

A request from guidance advisers that guidance staff should be separately registered with the GTC received a mixed reception.

At present teachers are registered for their subject expertise and the council's education committee fears that any extension may lead to claims from teachers in other areas of the curriculum such as outdoor education, learning support, media education and health education.

Tony Finn, the committee's convener, said he had "some sympathy" with the request given the growing demands on guidance teachers. But the implications of similar demands from groups such as headteachers had to be considered.

Barbara Clark, a guidance teacher who is president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, pressed the case for the guidance argument to be considered although she conceded it was a "minefield". But Bart McGettrick, principal of St Andrew's College, said the issue was one of certification to encourage quality in teaching rather than registration with the GTC.

The council agreed to further investigation of the case.

Professor McGettrick said later that there was also an "urgent need" for the GTC to review its attitude to new Higher Still courses such as "religious, moral and philosophical studies" and courses straddling school and further education such as travel and tourism.

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