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Teachers' council needs teeth;Letter

After a century of pressure, the Government is legislating for a general teaching council. For that, two faint but welcoming cheers. Unfortunately, the attainment of the sort of GTC that would have the full support of teachers is still some way away.

Few would argue with the intention to include in GTC membership all parts of the education constituency. That is totally in line with the concept of partnership on which a modern education service depends. However, there is no provision in the draft legislation for teachers themselves, who presumably will largely fund the GTC, to have a majority voice on the council, although the possible change of heart reported in last week's TES is hopeful.

Furthermore, the powers being given to a GTC, especially in the areas of entry and exit to the profession, are considerably less than are already afforded to similar bodies in medicine and the law. Nor is registration being automatically extended to the private sector, an interesting anomaly when compared with the General Medical Council.

There is still time to give the GTC some teeth. A properly constituted GTC has the potential to reinvigorate the status of teaching as a profession and contribute to the Government's standard-raising agenda. Teachers, and those who like myself support their work, deserve no less.

ROY JONES

Director, education, cultural and community services Bath and North-East Somerset Keynsham Bristol

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