EIS holds sway in teaching council poll

16th October 2009 at 01:00
Low turn-out disappointing but hopes for a `high quality membership'

The Educational Institute of Scotland has maintained its dominance in the teacher elections to the General Teaching Council for Scotland, although not in the contests for headteachers.

But the poll did not excite the 80,259 people on the GTCS register, as the turn-out plunged to its lowest ever level - 16.54 per cent. This contrasts with 22 per cent for the last council in 2005, and 26 per cent in 2001.

The council's leaders will be most disappointed, because they added an incentive by introducing online voting for the first time and pledging a 15p donation to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland for every electronic vote cast.

A GTCS spokesman said: "Although the turn-out is disappointing, it is generally consistent with the trend in turnouts at elections across the UK in recent years and, indeed, higher than those in many professional bodies. However, we are satisfied that we will have a high quality of membership on the new GTC Scotland council."

However, the EIS got its vote out, winning every one of the seven primary seats and all but three in the secondary category. Those went to members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association - Messrs Forbes, Nicol and Smith.

But the institute fared less well in winning the confidence of heads, whose support went to their professional organisations.

The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland picked up three of the four primarynursery seats, the exception being Alison Palmer, an EIS member. And none of its candidates was successful in the secondary heads contest where School Leaders Scotland won.

The EIS made a clean sweep in further education but, since only two lecturers stood for the two seats, there was no contest.

The rest of the new 50-strong GTCS will be made up of nominees from various bodies with an interest in its work.

The Government has re-appointed four of its existing representatives - Cathy Macaslan, vice-principal of Aberdeen University; Eileen Prior, who is the voice of parents but is also a PR consultant; Ian Jackson, director in Scotland of the General Dental Council; and Brian Paterson, a former managing director in industry.

Another familiar face will return, as ministers have extended the term of Ephraim Borowski, a retired lecturer in philosophy at Glasgow University.

The re-appointment of Ms Macaslan means that Aberdeen University will have two strong voices on the 12th council: the other is Myra Pearson, dean of education at the university, the post formerly held by Ms Macaslan. Ms Pearson is a former depute registrar of the council, making her the first ex-official to become a member.

The teacher education institutions will be represented by two other education deans - Jill Bourne from Strathclyde University and Richard Edwards from Stirling University.

The education directorate will send the same faces to the council - Gordon Ford from West Lothian, Donald MacKay from Midlothian and Leslie Manson from Orkney.

Further education management will be represented by Graeme Hyslop, the principal of Langside College in Glasgow.

The council will face an early election among its new members to decide who will replace May Ferries as chair. The Glasgow depute primary head has decided to take early retirement, which was only clarified after the election process had begun. Its main challenge in the coming months, however, will be to prepare the way for the GTCS to become a fully independent body, once the legislation is passed.

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