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pound;11,000 cost of a council hearing

Hearings to examine allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence against teachers have cost almost pound;1.2 million since 2002.

England's General Teaching Council has held 106 hearings against teachers accused of offences ranging from helping pupils cheat in tests to embezzling school funds.

Almost a quarter of those found guilty have received no more than a reprimand.

Cases held since the GTC took over responsibility for disciplinary hearings in January 2002 have cost an average of pound;10,781 plus pound;300 expenses, giving an average total of pound;11,081 per case.

By comparison, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard 283 cases in 20034, which resulted in 127 professionals being struck off. It spends up to pound;6 million a year on hearings.

Employment tribunals cost the taxpayer an average of about pound;2,200 per day.

Cases can last from a couple of hours for a wage claim to several weeks for one involving accusations of discrimination.

Graham Clayton, senior solicitor for the National Union of Teachers, said the union was happy with the way the council has handled disciplinary matters.

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