Late reprieve cuts GTC fees

16th February 2001 at 00:00
TEACHERS will pay pound;5 less than had been expected to register with England's new General Teaching Council after the Government bailed it out with an extra pound;3 million - the night before its budget meeting.

The grant, to be paid over two years, will allow the council to reduce the recommended pound;30 annual fee, revealed in The TES last week, to pound;25 this year and pound;27.50 in 2002.

Lord Puttnam, chairman of the 64-member council, secured the extra money from Education Secretary David Blunkett on Monday.

Teachers will be able to claim tax relief on the payments reducing them to pound;19.50 and pound;21.45 respectively. They will be expected to pay subscriptions in a one-off sum by October 1. But if they do not, the council will "as a last resort" dock the money from their salaries.

Lord Puttnam said: "We (as a council) have still not proved ourselves, and during the period in which we are proving ourselves, it seems to me a good and sensible and realistic argument to keep the fee as low as possible."

Unions welcomed the reduction but were scathing about the GTC's budget, which they claim is larger than it needs to be because the council is controversially moving ino pay and conditions.

Lord Puttnam's intervention takes the Government's contribution to the GTC's "start-up costs" from pound;16m to pound;19m over three years.

The council's budget for the year 2001-02 is pound;12.3m, including pound;3.73m on staffing, pound;609,000 on supply cover for members attending meetings and pound;2.175m for leaflets and stationery.

Some GTC members at the meeting questioned the compulsory nature of the fee. Ralph Manning, a teacher member of the GTC from Hethersett middle school, Norfolk, said: "Rather than giving teachers the message that we are the profession, there is a danger of creating an 'us and them' situation - where we are seen as yet another organisation which does something to teachers, rather than working with them."

Meanwhile, NUT Cymru, Wales's largest teaching union, has predicted that hundreds of teachers will refuse to pay subscriptions to the GTC for Wales amid suggestions its fee could be pound;35.

* The GTC for England also approved a new draft professional code for teachers, intended to "provide the basis for greater public recognition of teachers and the vital importance of their work".

www.gtce.org.ukdraftcode


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