The General Teaching Council (GTC) was set up in 2001 so it could advise on matters affecting the teaching profession on the whole and in particular, the quality of teaching. By doing so, its aim is to maintain a certain standard of behaviour and competence of teachers within the profession, in the public interest.
Employers of teachers are under a duty to tell the GTC when a registered teacher is dismissed from their post as a result of misconduct or when a teacher resigns because they know they will be dismissed.
Since January 2009, an employer's responsibility for referring teacher conduct will be split between the GTC and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), Prior to that date, employers had to refer teachers accused of misconduct to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), which would consider those cases and decide whether to refer them on to the GTC.
From January 20, 2008, employers were told to refer all matters of teacher misconduct with a child protection element attached to it to the ISA and not the DCSF, however from January 20, 2009, matters of misconduct that do not have a child protection issue attached to them should still be referred to the GTC.
A hearing before the GTC can be akin to trial where witnesses are permitted, evidence is relied on and a sanction imposed, which could affect the teacher's future in the profession. The teacher's conduct will be judged as to whether it amounts to unacceptable professional conduct unbefitting of a teacher.
The different sanctions are as follows
- Reprimand (or warning).
- Conditional registration, where a teacher must meet conditions set by the panel to be able to register with the GTC and so continue teaching.
- Suspending a teacher, with conditions if appropriate, for up to two years.
- Banning a teacher from teaching.