Most GTC seats held by teachers

7th July 2000 at 01:00
Minister's appointments are welcome surprise for unions, report Warwick Mansell and Clare Dean

EDUCATION Secretary David Blunkett appears to have confounded some of his critics by handing serving teachers and heads a clear majority on the new General Teaching Council.

In a move hailed by one union as "surprising but very welcome", eight of Mr Blunkett's 13 nominees are teaching professionals.

The nominations, which complete the membership of the council, mean that 42 of its 64 members will have current experience of working in schools.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "It contrasts favourably with the Learning and Skills Councils which are being established to oversee further education where all we have heard so far is the number of business people who will be members."

However, Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he was concerned that only three of Mr Blunkett's nominations were classroom teachers.

The 11 include three heads, one deputy, one sixth-form college principal and three teachers. Two parent members were selected.

They will join the 25 members who have already been elected to the GTC, nine put forward by unions and 17 nominated by representative bodies. The council first meets in September.

Elizabeth Diggory, head of St Paul's girls' school, Hammersmith, west London, is a former president of the independent sector's Girls' Schools Association.

Valerie Dennis, special educational needs co-ordinator at the Royal Docks community school, a secondary in Newham, east London, volunteered to sit on the GTC after being prompted by her council. She was selected after an interview at the Department fr Education and Employment.

She said: "I think the GTC will have a very important role in building the professional status of teachers, and reinstating a sense of pride in the profession."

Naila Zaffir, head of Copthorne primary, Bradford, 99 per cent of whose pupils are from ethnic minorities, won her place on the council after being nominated by her local authority.

Ms Zaffir, 45, said: "I was thrilled to be called for interview and can't believe that I am now on the GTC. I am over the moon. The most important thing for the GTC is to raise the teaching profession's status and morale."

BLUNKETT'S LIST

Usha Devi, deputy headteacher of Adderley primary, Saltley, Birmingham

Clare Easterbrook, teacher in charge of the nursery unit at High Street primary, Plymouth

Elizabeth Diggory, head of St Paul's girls' school, Hammersmith, west London

Lynn Lee, principal of St Vincent college, Gosport, Hampshire

Bushra Nasir, head of Plashet girls' school, Newham, east London

Naila Zaffir, head of Copthorne primary, Bradford

Valerie Dennis, senior teacher, the Royal Docks community school, Newham, east London

Sashikala Sivaloganathan, advanced skills teacher, St Marylebone school, Westminster, west London

Eugene Sullivan, head of accountancy firm Robson Rhodes's public sector services audit

Ian Chambers (parent representative), chair of governors at Stanney high school in South Wirral and a forum member of Ellesmere Port education action zone

Alison Fisher (parent representative), Meltham C of E primary, Wakefield; probation officer.

The council's chairman, Lord Puttnam and its vice-chair, Professor John Tomlinson, had already been nominated by the Education and Employment Secretary


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