Days could be numbered for GTCW

18th June 2010 at 01:00
The future of the General Teaching Council for Wales is under scrutiny

The future of the General Teaching Council for Wales is now under scrutiny after England's Education Secretary Michael Gove announced two weeks ago that its English equivalent would be scrapped because "it does not earn its keep" in improving classroom practice.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers in Wales said teachers in Wales would expect the days of the GTCW to be numbered, while the National Union of Teachers called for a review of its role and functions.

Although they have not taken their Westminster colleagues' position on the matter, the Welsh Conservatives said they were reviewing the place of the GTCW as part of their commitment to cutting bureaucracy in teaching.

Welsh teaching council chief executive Gary Brace said there was "no reason" why Wales should follow England, but the watchdog has already written to Cardiff's Education Minister Leighton Andrews, seeking reassurances about its future.

Rex Phillips, Wales organiser of the NASUWT, said: "We have consistently argued that Wales cannot sustain a separate council. There are more important priorities in Wales than spending nearly pound;2 million on a body that has failed to gain the respect and confidence of the teaching profession."

David Evans, secretary of NUT Cymru, said: "There is a need for a body to regulate the profession, but whether it's in the current guise of the GTCW or not is up for debate.

But Philip Dixon, secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru, urged caution. "Whatever its failings, the GTCW ensures that teachers are regulated by other teachers and not faceless bureaucrats," he said.

Any decision about the future of the GTCW will lie with the Assembly Government. A spokesperson said it had "noted" the Department for Education's announcement about the GTCE and would consider any implications arising from it.

Comment, page 22.

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