GTC is given 18-month stay of execution

5th November 2010 at 00:00
No word yet on the regulatory body's planned successor

The General Teaching Council for England (GTC) will not be dismantled for another 18 months, The TES has learnt.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has told the regulatory body it will take until at least the end of March 2012 to close it down and set up a replacement.

But he has refused to give any details on what the GTC's successor will be, and if it will have any functions beyond disciplining teachers.

The GTC is one of the doomed organisations included in the Public Bodies Bill, a new law that has already spelt the end of many Department for Education quangos - including Becta and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA).

The GTC was originally expected to be scrapped next year. However, it is understood the complexity of setting up a new body, and ending its many functions - which include registration, training, disciplinary hearings and awarding qualified teacher status - is the reason for the stay of execution.

Mr Gibb met with GTC chief executive Keith Bartley, chair Gail Mortimer and policy director Sarah Stephens last week.

Mr Bartley said he wants his officials to work "closely" with the DfE as they continue discussions about the GTC's successor. Details of the new body will be included in the education white paper, due out at the end of November.

Mr Bartley said last week's meeting was a "constructive discussion". In a memo to GTC staff, he wrote: "The minister thanked us for the professional way in which we are handling our business and particularly enquired about the staffing position and morale.

"He was genuinely sympathetic to the situation that we are in and I believe he understands well the implications for individuals; to this end, he wants to clarify their intentions for us as soon as possible but underlined that this can only be in the context of their broader reforms to school workforce policy."

"He was quite clear that they are still `thinking their policies through' and he thanked us for the policy papers that Sarah Stephens and her colleagues have been producing as summaries of the research and policy thinking and advice that we have gathered since 2000."

Mr Bartley and his staff, together with DfE officials are all members of a GTC joint transition board, which was set up to ensure a smooth transition. The board meets monthly so officials can be informed about the GTC's functions.

Some 10 per cent of GTC staff have already left their posts and Government spending cuts have put an end to recruitment.

Mr Bartley says ministers are placing "extraordinary demands" on his staff, asking for complex information at the same time as teacher referrals to the GTC are at a record high and the number of hearings have tripled.

It is not yet known if the GTC will be axed in stages, or if staffing numbers will be reduced before it is closed down.

Mr Gibb, who will meet again with Mr Bartley in the new year, is apparently well informed of the benefits of being in a professional body - he is a chartered accountant.

  • Original headline: Beleaguered GTC is given 18-month stay of execution

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