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Later poll for GTC

Elections for the next General Teaching Council for Scotland will take place in September next year, not March as reported two weeks ago.

These will be the first elections for the new-look GTC which has undergone controversial structural changes as a result of the education Act. The existing council is being disbanded on October 31 next year, midway through its four-year life, on the grounds that the new members need time to get to grips with the council's work before it acquires new powers governing teacher discipline, competence and ill health in 2002.

As a result elections in future will be held in September instead of November, and the new council will take office on November 1 instead of the Feruary following the elections.

"The elections have been thrust upon us," Norma Anne Watson, the council's convener, said. "We have no option but to comply with the legal position."

The GTC is also unhappy with the new constituencies for the elections. The two electorates for primary and secondary staff are being split up to ensure the council is more "representative", in the view of the Scottish Executive. New constituencies restricted to primary and secondary heads and to teachers in pre-school centres have been created.

This means they will only be allowed to stand and vote in their own categories, which the GTC believes "erodes the principle that teaching is a unitary profession".

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