General Teaching Council

23rd January 2009 at 00:00
The General Teaching Council offers more than disciplinary hearings

For qualified teachers working in state schools, registration with the General Teaching Council - the independent professional body for teaching in England - is a legal requirement; many teachers from the independent sector also choose to register. For those whose training started from September 2008, provisional registration has now been introduced, acknowledging that teachers' commitment begins on the first day of training.

Professional registration and regulation with a body like the GTC is a hallmark of a profession. It is a clear assurance to employers and the public that registered teachers are properly qualified for the job and are of good standing.

But the GTC also want teachers to see registration as joining a professional community whose networks, services and recognition and support for professional development are benefits they want to take advantage of.

Research evidence shows - perhaps unsurprisingly - that high quality professional development for teachers leads to better results for pupils. And so, from the outset, the GTC has consistently made the case for better access to better development opportunities for teachers throughout their careers.

The Teacher Learning Academy

The academy has been piloted and developed by the GTC to provide an intellectually rigorous, flexible and practical programme for teachers. It helps them make small changes in practice that have a big impact in the classroom and beyond.

Projects can be undertaken at different levels and NQTs can begin working through the academy during their induction period.

Professional networks

The GTC networks link teachers nationally and put them in touch with the latest research and evidence. They also allow the council to draw on the experience and expertise of teachers as it develops its policy advice to Government. The three networks are Achieve, which brings together professionals to promote racial equality and diversity in schools; Connect, for CPD leaders to share, stimulate and support good practice, and Engage, which supports new teachers.


This brings together new teachers, and those who support them, to encourage good practice in the early years of their careers. It provides access to news, research and resources. Members receive electronic newsletters every term; can take part in project groups on specific topics and in a scheme to pair with more experienced teachers. As an NQT, enrolment with Engage is automatic, however if you haven't been registered, you can also visit Engage Online.

The web-based research of the month helps teachers to access and benefit directly from education research by summarising it and illustrating the findings using case studies from classrooms.

Over the next four years, the GTC will undertake a programme of work to promote a new vision for teaching and for children and young people and to support the highest standards among the profession. Much of the detail is still to be decided but the Teacher Learning Academy will be expanded to a national system to support career-long development.

A new code of conduct and practice will be developed, capturing shared values and expectations and ensuring that registration and regulation really support public confidence in the profession.

The GTC also hopes to lead a public debate about teaching, engaging parents, pupils, employers and the Government - as well as teachers - to elicit as wide a range of views as possible on the future for the profession.

As the organisation that works with all major education interest groups - but is independent of them - we hope we are well placed to do this and would like to hear from you.

For more information about the GTC:

For the Teacher Learning Academy:

To read and give your views on the GTC's vision for the future:

To find out more about the networks:

To find out about Engage and sign up:

For Research of the Month:

To comment on the draft Code of Conduct and Practice:


The General Teaching Council for Scotland, set up in 1965, was the UK's first professional registration body for teachers.

It was established following the Second World War when lowered entry requirements saw unqualified teachers working in schools.

The GTCS, which will soon change from a quango to the world's first independent teaching council, has won greater acceptance than its equivalent body to the south. The GTC for England only came into being at the turn of the century and some still argue that it should not exist.

Both councils register teachers for state schools and have disciplinary powers, including removal from the register. The GTCS recently held its first competence hearing for an under-performing teacher, after it was granted powers to consider cases of those sacked for incompetence.

In England, the Training Development Agency sets standards and approves teacher training. In Scotland, these areas are largely the responsibility of the GTCS.

In England, the arrangements for headships are the remit of the National College of School Leadership, but there is no equivalent body in Scotland.

Some GTCE members represent trade unions, whereas the GTCS only has elected teachers. Some may have a union background, but they do not sit as union representatives.

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