'Complaints' not cause for concern

19th February 2010 at 00:00

I was disappointed to read the misleading article "Complaints against teachers soar by 800% as parents pitch in" (February 12).

Overall, the number of conduct and competence referrals from all sources has risen from 516 to 827 from April 2007 to January 2010.

The 800 per cent rise from 12 referrals in 200708 to 104 referrals in 200910 is in Initial Conduct Referrals (ICRs). ICRs are not only from parents as the headline suggests - teachers themselves and members of the public can also raise concerns about conduct through this route.

In fact, since 2003, only 4 per cent of ICRs (18 cases) have been found to be of sufficient concern to be passed on to a committee of GTC members for investigation. The remainder were referred back for resolution at a local level.

Therefore, ICRs have also had no bearing on the proposed fee level, so the suggestion that the GTC is imposing an "18 per cent fee hike to pay for cost of burgeoning number of hearings triggered by public" is innaccurate.

There has been a significant rise in referrals received by all professional regulatory bodies, providing assurance to the public and protecting the reputation of each profession.

Standards of professional conduct remain high in the teaching profession and we are confident that the rise in the number of cases referred to the GTC is due to this increased awareness among employers of their legal duty, combined with an increase in public understanding that they can raise concerns.

Keith Bartley, Chief executive, General Teaching Council for England (GTC).

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