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GTCW to buy pound;1m office

The teaching profession's watchdog in Wales is to spend its reserves on new offices in Cardiff.

The General Teaching Council for Wales agreed the move - first revealed by TES Cymru - at a meeting earlier this month.

Unions criticised the council for accumulating such large reserves so quickly, and called for the cash to be spent on supply cover for professional development courses or to reduce teachers' fees.

The council, however, has decided to put its unallocated reserves of Pounds 231,500 aside to help build up a pound;300,000 capital reserve. This would pay for the deposit on a pound;1 million office building, and associated costs. And while the registration fee of pound;32 remains unchanged from last year, the council has indicated a rise to pound;36 is likely in 2007-08.

Meanwhile, draft accounts for 2005-06 show chairman Mal Davies received Pounds 32,000 to reimburse the costs of the role.

Chief executive Gary Brace earned between pound;60,000 and pound;65,000, while his deputy Hayden Llewellyn was on pound;50,000-pound;55,000.

Overall staffing costs rose from pound;738,000 to pound;844,000.

The council received pound;2.2m in grants from the Assembly government, and raised pound;1.2m in registration fees. Managing and dispensing continuing professional development grants to teachers on behalf of the Assembly government was its biggest single outgoing, costing pound;1.8m.

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