Disappointed by irrelevant GTC

21st May 2004 at 01:00
One sip from the teachers' daily cup, and John Beattie, chair of the General Teaching Council for England, leaps to defend his organisation (TES, April 30). What a pity his GTC is not so fast off the blocks to defend its teacher members.

I am disappointed in the GTC. First, for its irrelevance. The consultation exercises and reports it sends out address issues of marginal importance to me. Second, for its failure to make anything of its potential. With its huge membership, it could speak with great authority. Where are the open-ended consultations? Where is the independent review of the workforce agreement or the regular progress reports?

Mr Beattie has clearly misunderstood my letter. But I can assure him that I read all 46 candidates' statements several times, annotated them and set them in order of preference. I discarded all those who mentioned their union membership or whose statements hinted at a political motivation. The unions already have their representatives on the council, and in view of their abject failure to protect their own members, I see no point in throwing good votes after bad. That took out 10 of the 46 candidates.

Then I discarded those who wrote only about themselves, or only vaguely about listening to teachers. That made it hard to find 11 candidates. I was looking for those who made explicit reference to the matters which worry me most.These have filled the letters pages and the leader columns of The TES for years. I was also looking for candidates with a robust attitude. My short-list was 14; of my final 11, three were GTC members standing for re-election.

Philip D Delnon

79 Broomfield Road Swanscombe, Kent

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