Axe the league, says GTC new boy

24th September 2004 at 01:00
New members of the General Teaching Council for England made their presence felt this week by calling for the abolition of league tables.

At its first meeting of the academic year, the council was urged to stop sitting on the fence and launch a national campaign to scrap the annual school rankings, Newly-elected member Pete Strauss, head of Walter Halls primary, Nottingham, proposed the motion calling for the end of tables. He said they were detrimental to teaching and learning. "We're not calling for a campaign against accountability but performance league tables are not the way forward," he said.

Ron Clooney, a modern languages and English teacher from Chamberlayne Park school, Southampton, and also a new member, told the GTC it needed to be more "controversial".

But Christine Green, a reception teacher from Rawmarsh Sandhill primary, Rotherham, warned against "getting on the bandwagon, just because it curries favour with the teaching profession".

Members voted 23 to 17 against the motion, but backed proposals to lobby the Government to review assessment.

The GTCnow includes members hostile to its existence. Judy Moorhouse, GTC chairman since September, said she expected potential "rogue" new members to work in a professional manner.

Ms Moorhouse said she was unconcerned about a handful of new members who are at best sceptical and at worst opposed to the very existence of the GTC. She said: "I am sure that once the work of the council begins, everyone will act in a professional manner.

"Election addresses are one thing and when you are standing for the council you are divorced from the actual situation."

Overall, 15 new members have been elected, including three secondary representatives who have expressed hostility to the GTC.

Sashi Sivaloganathan, a special school teacher and a government appointee, is the GTC's new vice-chairman. She welcomed the arrival of the sceptics.

"It is always good to get the views of a wide cross-section of people and I am sure that we will have some very useful debate. It is wonderful that we will have people joining who are not just going to sit there but who will have a major contribution to make," she said.

New members who have expressed opposition to the GTC include Neil Taylor, head of sixth form at Chingford foundation school in Waltham Forest, who believes the teaching unions already fulfil its functions.

Secondary teacher Nigel Bowler described the organisation in his manifesto as a "waste of time and money" and Terry Bladen, a former president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he would campaign for a review of how the GTC operates.

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