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Poised to clash on council members

The Government's plans for the membership of the proposed General Teaching Council are likely to run into opposition from the two largest teacher unions, writes Geraldine Hackett.

The education White Paper to be published on Monday is expected to set out provisions for the creation of a professional advisory body on which teachers will have seats.

However, ministers are not expected to agree to representations from the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers that they nominate the teacher members. The White Paper is expected to signal consultation on the role and composition of the council.

Much of the paper will be devoted to the Government's measures aimed at raising standards in schools. Teachers are to be encouraged to stay in the classroom with the creation of the advanced teacher grade. There may be approaches to the teachers' pay review body to provide incentives that will attract experienced staff to education action zones.

Local authorities are likely to be promised new powers to intervene in schools that are failing and there may be measures to speed up the disciplinary procedure for dealing with poor teachers.

The White Paper is expected to be more a policy document than the traditional forerunner to legislation.

It is to be followed by consultation papers on key areas such as the changes in the management structure of schools that will result from the ending of grant-maintained status. Schools will be given the option of choosing to become community, aided or foundation.

There is to be a Green Paper in September covering proposed changes to policy on special needs. The intention is investigate ways of providing more support to children with special needs and to examine ways of preventing a build-up of cases to be heard by the special needs tribunal.

The Government plans to set up a national advisory group on special needs that will draw on expertise from local education authorities, voluntary organisations and others.

A summary of the White Paper is to be distributed in supermarkets and there is to be a roadshow to provide for extensive consultation.

The White Paper on schools will be followed later in the year by two papers covering the changes that will be made in further and higher education as a consequence of the Dearing Review and the recommendations from the committee chaired by Helena Kennedy and the proposals to take the young unemployed off welfare benefits.

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