Teaching council wants to bring in outsiders

England's General Teaching Council wants to draft in outsiders to sit on disciplinary panels to take the burden off council members.

Its registration and regulation committee will next week consider appointing outsiders to sit on panels alongside two council members. At the moment, three GTC members sit on each panel.

The GTC's latest annual report shows that since it began hearing disciplinary cases in 2002 it has dealt with 66 conduct and competence cases and made 11 permanent or temporary bans. It also heard 11 induction appeals and 119 cases were investigated during 2003-4. At the moment a maximum of nine of the council's 64 members are used for the panels in any single week.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, accused the GTC of neglecting its core function by planning to delegate responsibility for discipline. She said its members spent too much time on issues such as training and assessment, already dealt with elsewhere.

"Some council members use the GTC as a Trojan horse through which to pursue their own personal agendas and concerns about education policy and pay and conditions of service," she said.

The GTC said the proposal was a contingency plan in case the workload for its panels suddenly increased and that the NASUWT was "jumping the gun".

Judy Moorhouse, GTC chair, said the council had a statutory remit to advise Government on a range of issues.

The GTC has appointed the Audit Commission to review its impact during its first four years.

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