'Bloated' GTC faces a cut

12th October 2007 at 01:00
Council's 64-seat board could shrink to 12

ENGLAND'S GENERAL Teaching Council could be scaled down to a board of just 12 members, The TES can reveal.

The council, which currently has 64 seats, will start considering a review of its size next September, in response to a 2005 Audit Commission report that deemed it too large.

The news comes as nominations open for next year's GTC elections, which are held every four years. Teachers who are voted in will determine changes to the council's make-up, which would come into effect from 2012.

Judy Moorhouse, chair of the GTC, has said the council could be reduced to a "very minimum of 12".

She said: "We would have to decide who would appoint it and who would actually do the huge amount of work that the GTC is doing."

Nothing had been decided yet, she said, and any eventual recommendations would have to be approved by Parliament.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union, said it did not matter how small the council became as long as it concentrated on its main regulatory functions.

The council is already trying to address the Audit Commission's accusations of slow decision-making by introducing an executive committee with delegated powers. From this month this committee has the authority to make decisions between full council meetings. It will meet six times a year and the number of full council meetings will be reduced from four to three.

Richard Knights, a primary teacher from Merseyside, has announced his intention to stand on an openly abolitionist ticket in the elections, which will take place next February. "We can force the slimming down of what has become a bloated quango," he said.

He added that he was fed up with long queues for disciplinary hearings, with teachers on silly charges that could be dealt with at a school level. Mr Knights said he had already been contacted by seven other teachers wishing to take a stand on a similar ticket, each of whom will have to find support from a proposer, a seconder and five others.

The GTC is hoping to boost its traditionally very low election turnout next year. Last time, in 2004, only around 10 per cent of teachers in the secondary sector voted. Online voting has since been introduced as a result. The registration fee to the council is pound;33.

* For more information, go to: http:www.gtce.org.ukelections

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