The long road to the GTC

15th December 2000 at 00:00
1862 College of Preceptors proposes a "scholastic council".

1879 Dr Playfair sponsors a Bill to Parliament and in 1889, a Select Committee considers two Bills.

1899 Education Act makes provision for setting up a register of teachers.

1901 Education Act lays a duty upon the Board of Education to establish a Teachers' Registration Council, but this is scuppered by difficulties between teachers and Robert Morant, the civil servant at the Board. The Council is abolished in 1906.

1910 First solo edition of "The TES" calls for a professional organisation and the establishment of a Teachers' Register.

1912 A voluntary Teachers' Registration Council is established, which becomes the Royal Society of Teachers in 1929.

1944 Education Act fails to make registration compulsory, and the Royal Society of Teachers is wound up by an Order in Council in 1949. The McNair Committee considers the principles of professional status, but this is ignored by Government.

1950s Teachers' associations and civil servants such as John Maud and Derek Morrell keep the idea alive.

1959 English education ministers take it in turn to reject the idea: Tory minister David Eccles says no in 1959, and Labour minister Anthony Crosland is equally dismissive in 1965.

1966 A General Teaching Council is established in Scotland.

1968 Education minister Edward Short announces his intention to create a General Teaching Council in England, but the Weaver report recommends two councils (separating registration and discipline) and the proposal fails again.

1972 James Committee on teacher training recommends a National Council for Teacher Education.

1978 Different groups take turns to support the concept of a General Teaching Council but the success of the idea rests with theteachers' associations, who begin meeting regularly this year.

1980 The Campaign for a General Teaching Council (CATEC) is set up at the instigation of Robert Balchin, treasurer of the College of Preceptors. Keith Joseph becomes Secretary of State for Education and Science. Balchin reports that "Sir Keith Joseph finds himself totally out of sympathy with the kind of professionalism for teachers we support."

1981 CATEC is wound up.

1983 Teachers' associations start again, and ask the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) to lead negotiations. The campaign inches forward.

1988 John Sayer publishes "Towards a General Teaching Council", the fruits of a UCETteachers' association working party. 1989 John MacGregor takes over at the Department of Education and Science, and reveals his personal sympathy for the idea. The Education Select Committee recommends "that the Government create a General Teaching Council to work for the profession", but the Government continues to be resolutely against the idea.

1990s Detailed proposals now exist in print, and a company is formed by the Forum of Associations. The UCET initiative ends, and GTC (England and Wales) is created with John Tomlinson as chair. Every year sees a debate in Parliament. The National Commission on Education and a second select committee endorse the GTC; a private member's Bill is promoted by the Tory chair of the Select Committee, Sir Malcolm Thornton. Lobbying gains pace.

1998 The Teaching and Higher Education Act makes provision for the establishment of General Teaching Councils in England and Wales.

2000 The GTC (England and Wales) group dissolves itself, believing that the General Teaching Council will be the organisation the profession has fought so long for.

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