Blind eye to staff who stray;General Teaching Council

11th June 1999 at 01:00
Neil Munro rounds up an outbreak of contentious issues at the General Teaching Council in Edinburgh

SECONDARY heads are to be reminded by the GTC that no teacher should be asked to take a subject in which they are not qualified, despite the reservations of a leading council member.

The council decided to act following a letter from a principal history teacher alleging breaches of the rules in some schools.

Ivor Sutherland, the GTC's registrar, said the combination of subject expansion through new Higher Still courses and widespread changes in education authority personnel following local government reform could begin to undermine the council's policy, which is designed to protect teaching standards.

But Douglas Weir, dean of the education faculty at Strathclyde University, said "a defensive position that every discrete subject should be taught by a qualified teacher" would bring the council no credit.

The GTC should be "imaginative and creative" in dealing with the problems in S1 and S2, Professor Weir said. "We cannot start from the position that putting 19 to 20 teachers in front of children in these years is a good thing."

Dr Sutherland replied: "I agree that a balance has to be struck between stifling imaginative developments and compromising on professional standards. The letter will strike that balance."

Leader, page 16

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