GTC answers challenge

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Huw Thomas throws down some interesting challenges for the General Teaching Council for England (TES, September 2). We certainly want to "speak convincingly" to teachers and to engage them directly in the council's work. Our professional networks - Connect for CPD leaders, Achieve for promoting race equality and Engage for newly-qualified teachers - are proving an important way of doing this.

Mr Thomas is incorrect in saying that Education Secretary Ruth Kelly single-handedly appoints 13 members of the council. The posts are advertised and recruited through an open public appointments process, managed by the council, with the GTC chair as a member of the interview panel.

His suggestion of a voluntary fee paid by teachers and supplemented by direct government grant would destroy the council's independence and accountability to teachers - any government grant brings with it its own controls.

The article also seems to argue that the GTC can only be the "voice of teachers" if all its council members are elected by teachers. While teachers quite rightly are in a majority on the council (by two- thirds), the GTC was set up to represent as fully as possible the interests and opinions of all those with a stake in young people's education.

Carol Adams. Chief executive. General Teaching Councilfor England Whittington House. 19-30 Alfred Place London WC1

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