Puttnam to oppose 'barmy' funding

21st April 2000 at 01:00
DAVID PUTTNAM, chairman of the General Teaching Council, said current education spending levels are "barmy" and pledged to press for parity with high-spending European nations.

Lord Puttnam admitted that the GTC did not have the unions' sanction of strike action should ministers not be convinced. He said the key would be making the case in the media - "slowly and in a well-researched and moderate way".

Twenty-five teachers have been elected to the 64-member council. A further 25 were nominated by the six teacher unions and other groups, including the Local Government Association and the Commission for Racial Equality. Education Secretary David Blunkett will nominate the final 14 in June.

Twelve of the elected teachers wn with the backing of their unions. The unions also nominated nine council members directly - giving them a third of the seats. A total of 106,000 teachers voted - an impressive turn-out at 30 per cent of those who had registered, said Carol Adams, the GTC's chief executive. However, only about a third of teachers who could have registered to vote, did so. Some 37 per cent of those who did are not currently teaching.

The figure of 106,000 votes represents just over a quarter of the 415,000 currently teaching in England's maintained schools.

Among the teachers elected were Tony Neal, national treasurer of the Secondary Heads' Association, and left-winger Carole Regan, a former National Union of Teachers president.

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