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Discipline panels recruitment begins

A new group of teachers will be recruited to discipline members of the profession who have committed serious offences, the Department for Education has announced.

A team of 30 people will be responsible for regulating the workforce as part of a new system which replaces the General Teaching Council for England next year.

The posts for the professional conduct panels are advertised this week. The hearings will be run by the new Teaching Agency, which replaces the GTC and the Training and Development Agency for Schools from April 1, 2012.

The 25 new panel members will include teachers and lay members who will serve for 12 days a year - around the same as the current GTC council members. They will not be paid, but can claim "reasonable expenses" for travel and subsistence. They will also include five existing GTC council members who will be transferred.

The profession is currently regulated by 25 elected teacher members of the GTC, nine union representatives, 17 representatives from other bodies such as the Local Government Association and 13 appointed by the Government.

Disciplinary hearings will move from Birmingham to Coventry with the birth of the Teaching Agency. Those on the hearing panels, who will be appointed for two to four years, will have to consider evidence against the teacher involved and whether to ban them from teaching.

The advertisement says they must have the "ability to remain even-tempered and courteous at all times" and "demonstrate high standards of corporate and personal conduct".

John Rimmer, NASUWT president and representative on the GTCE panel, said the lack of union representation on the disciplinary panels was a "retrograde step".

"It would have been sensible to tap into the expertise and research of the professional associations; this should be a must," he said.

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