GTC fees double to Pounds 20 a year

The General Teaching Council is to double its registration fee to Pounds 20 from next April. In an unfortunate coincidence, it has also decided after a lengthy search to buy new premises for an undisclosed sum on the western side of Edinburgh.

The council points out that it has not put up its fee since 1991 when it was doubled from Pounds 5. It concedes that the move next February will exacerbate its operating deficit and partly accounts for the fee increase.

The GTC is also anticipating added costs as a result of growing involvement in in-service education and staff development.

The rise was defended by Compton McLeod, convener of the council's finance and general purposes committee, who underlined the importance of the GTC's independence in being fully funded by registered teachers. Mr McLeod, headteacher of Brediland primary in Renfrewshire, writes in an article for the GTC journal Link: "The revised fees compare very favourably with the fees set by the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council."

Subscriptions are compulsory, if teachers wish to remain on the register. But they are tax-deductible, making the new fee Pounds 15.40 for lower-rate taxpayers.

Relocation to new offices was forced on the council by the cramped nature of the premises in Edinburgh's Royal Terrace it has owned since 1978 for which the asking price was over Pounds 235,000. The new address, Clerwood House, is a Victorian building once used as a children's home.

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