Move on from blame game

28th February 2003 at 00:00
Your leader (TES, February 21) suggests that the General Teaching Council's role in regulating the conduct and competence of the profession is about blaming teachers. The profession has been badly served in the past by a culture of blame, which damages professional self-esteem and status.

The point of professional regulation is to provide those very few teachers who appear before the council with an informed professional decision, based on the facts of the individual case, about whether or not they should continue to practise, or with what, if any restrictions.

Hearing committees comprising one lay and two teacher members consider the detailed facts and circumstances of each case both through the examination of written evidence and through witness testimony. To ensure fairness and transparency, proceedings are normally held in public.

It is wrong to suggest that the council exists or should exist to act as a punitive force. The options available and used by the council include deregistration, continued registration under specified conditions or issuing a reprimand. In some circumstances deregistration will be necessary; continued registration with conditions allows for the positive improvement of colleagues who have fallen below acceptable standards but where improvements are considered possible. This is an important aspect of the council's remit.

It is the council's clear view that the profession's and the public's interests can only be served by the full impartial consideration of the detailed circumstances of each case and by fitting the decision and sanction to the facts. This will do more to enhance teaching status than punitive gestures. It is time to move on from blaming and shaming.

Carol Adams

Chief executive of the General Teaching Council for England

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