Call to action over Brexit 'threat to teacher quality'

Watchdog asks every teacher in Scotland to raise concerns that Internal Market Bill opens door to unqualified teachers

Henry Hepburn

Teachers have been urged to protest over a Brexit 'threat to teacher quality'

Scotland's teaching watchdog has asked every registered teacher in the country to express concerns that Brexit could dilute standards in the profession.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has today written to all 76,600 registered teachers in Scotland asking them to write to their MP about the Internal Market Bill.

In an email to all registrants, the GTCS urges teachers and parents to write to their local MP to ask them to support any amendments to the Internal Market Bill designed to exempt the teaching profession and teacher services from the requirements.

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Ken Muir, chief executive and registrar of the GTCS, said: "The bill means that GTC Scotland would seem to be expected to give full registration to teachers from any of the jurisdictions in the UK, irrespective if they are highly qualified or unqualified.

Brexit: Fears over unqualified teachers

"Our key concern about the bill is the extent to which current registered teachers, users of the education system and parents would feel that would be watering down the teaching profession in Scotland.

"Entry to our register is predicated on a high standard of qualification, with the 76,600 people on our register having gone through tough times in gaining a degree or equivalent and a teaching qualification, and I think many of them would be very upset if colleagues coming into their schools came in through a much less significant, less demanding route."

Mr Muir added: "There is a strong legal basis to the work we do as the body that regulates the teaching profession in Scotland. Given that the bill excepts the legal professions across the UK from its requirements, GTC Scotland feels there is an equally strong argument for the teaching profession in Scotland to be excepted.

"As the professional body for all of Scotland’s teachers, we have written to our registrants and urged them to raise our concerns with their local MP. It is only by MPs supporting the amendments to the [UK Internal Market] Bill that we can protect the very high standards that are set for our teachers in Scotland and protect the quality of teaching that our children receive and deserve."

The GTCS has posted sample letters on its website that teachers can use to raise their concerns about the Internal Market Bill.

The UK government has previously insisted that the Bill would not stop the GTCS setting standards and controlling who can teach in Scotland. It was understood that UK ministers were prepared to delay the changes to allow time to adapt to them, but the GTCS has consistently insisted on a full exemption.

*The Internal Market Bill will be one of many topics covered in an interview with GTCS chief executive Ken Muir in the 6 November issue of Tes Scotland magazine. For details on how to subscribe, click here

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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