Teach pupils about the BNP in a liberal learning environment

3rd July 2009 at 01:00

The GTC is not "hiding behind" the legal position regarding the BNP (Letters, June 26). The council has a strong track record on promoting equality and supporting schools to meet their duties under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, for example through its Achieve professional network.

The council also has a clear duty to act as a fair and impartial regulator. Membership of any lawful political party per se cannot amount to grounds for unacceptable professional conduct. By taking a policy position on teacher membership of the BNP - or any other lawful political party - the GTC could compromise its ability to deal properly and fairly with alleged misconduct cases where a teacher may belong to a political party.

As a regulatory body, the GTC cannot regulate against the beliefs of professionals, only their actions and conduct. The council can and does act where it finds discriminatory behaviour by teachers. We must ensure that our council members, all of whom hear disciplinary cases, do not risk prejudicing themselves from considering allegations by expressing views that could be perceived as predetermining the outcome of a case.

Alan Meyrick, Registrar, General Teaching Council for England.

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