Primary teachers stay on sidelines in poll for new-look GTC

Tes Editorial

SCOTLAND'S 20,000 primary teachers have been unable to raise a contest for their seven representatives on the new-look General Teaching Council for Scotland. The successful seven are all members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, three of whom serve on the existing council.

In contrast, there are 17 candidates for eight secondary seats.

The results of the poll for 26 elected places are declared on October 1. Whatever the outcome, there will only be a handful of familiar faces from the existing council.

Last year's education Act, which revamped the GTC's structure, created two controversial new categories for primary-nursery and secondary heads, in the teeth of opposition from the council which saw it as dividing the profession. There is a keen contest with 15 candidates for seven seats.

The six primary-nursery heads who are standing include four official EIS candidates, including Norma Anne Watson, current GTC convener.

There are two independents, Michael Hannah from Shetland, an EIS member, and Hyacinthe Fawcett from Glasgow, who supports the policies of the primary heads' association. Ms Watson and Mr Hannah are the only serving GTC members among the candidates.

The Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, which represents primary heads, took a decision not to run a "slate" of approved candidates.

The Headteachers' Association of Scotland, however, has three representatives in a battle for the secondary head places with the EIS and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association. The hopefuls include the only current GTC member, Tony Finn. Mr Finn, an EIS member and head of St Andrew's High, is the council's education convener.

The secondary contest is the usual head-to-head between the EIS and SSTA which have each put up eight candidates for eight seats. The 17th contestant, James Johnston of Springburn Academy in Glasgow, president of the Technology Teachers' Association, is standing as an independent to support a stronger place for technology in the curriculum.

Three other categories have no contests. Kirsty Devaney (EIS) of Dundee College and Bruce Heil (EIS) of Edinburgh's Telford College will speak for FE staff, Anne Wilson of Strathclyde University will be the voice of lecturers in teacher education and Linda Fisher-Dougan (EIS), who works in a pre-five centre in Paisley, will represent the newly created category of pre-school teachers (other than in primary or nursery schools).

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