Majority of watchdog members elect to stand again

31st October 2003 at 00:00
Two-thirds of the English General Teaching Council's elected members plan to stand again in next year's elections to the profession's watchdog.

Nominations opened this month. But re-election could prove tough, given the GTCE has a higher profile and far more teachers, around 500,000, registered to vote. In 2000, 109,764 of 349,000 teachers voted for the first council.

Candidates must be qualified teachers registered with the GTCE, and have taught in the year up to April 4, 2004, and for at least two out of the past five years.

There are 25 elected places on the 64-member council: 11 for primary teachers, 11 for secondary teachers, one primary and one secondary head, and one special schools place open to heads and teachers (including those in the non-maintained sector). The rest are appointed by the Government, unions, universities and other agencies.

Teachers can only vote for colleagues in their sector: for example, primary teachers vote for the primary teacher council members.

The classroom unions are still discussing whether to put together a joint slate of candidates, as they did in 2000. But eight out of 12 elected members contacted by The TES say they expect to stand again.

Only one has definitely ruled out standing, and another cannot because he is no longer a teacher.

Carol Adams, GTCE chief executive, said: "It would be very good if we had black and ethnic minority teachers elected. A good balance of skills and interests across the whole age group is always a good thing; teachers working in challenging schools, in cutting edge areas, or experienced in professional development and training."

Professor Caroline Gipps, deputy vice-chancellor of Kingston university, London, has replaced Professor Tim Brighouse on the GTCE.

Professor Geoff Whitty, director of London university's institute of education, will represent Universities UK; Anne Welsh, head of George Stephenson high school in Newcastle, has been nominated by the Secondary Heads Association and Peggie Harrison, education cabinet member at Telford and Wrekin, for the Local Government Association.

Nominations to stand for the council close at noon on December 15. Ballot papers will be issued by February 20, to be returned by March 22. The results will be announced by April 6 and the new council will start work in September 2004.

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