GTC comes at too high a price

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
The setting of a subscription fee by the General Teaching Council is a disgrace. A body that purports to represent us now threatens compulsory deduction from pay packets.

By doing so it shows itself in its true colours as a New Labour lapdog. The barely reported whimper of the GTC at Alastair Campbell's "bog-standard" insult is not going to provoke a rush of eager members.

The GTC is also unresponsive to its potential members. For weeks I have been trying to get hold of information about any constitution it may have, and how I, a potential member, can start a democratic procedure to get rid of the government appointees. I have not got a straight answer, just platitudes about consultation exercises and status-raising.

This inability to reply is appalling - obviously the GTC is unwilling to make clear the likelihood that elected teachers will always be outnumbered by on-teachers.

The replies also quite frankly show a contempt for anyone who doesn't believe that the GTC will be a panacea for all educational ills. I have been attempting to ask them the following questions:

* Why does the GTC not make membership compulsory for teachers in sixth-form colleges, independent schools, and further and higher education? In the first two categories, it is quite possible for recruits to complete the induction process, thus qualifying them to teach in state schools - this seems an anomaly.

* Are teachers in the above sectors therefore not presumed to have to abide by the same standards as their fellow professionals?

* Are there plans to make the GTC more accountable to its members by removing government nominees?

* If not, how could the membership bring this about?

Andrew Stanley 84 Kneller Gardens Isleworth London

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