Teachers' body is a waste of space

24th June 2005 at 01:00
England's General Teaching Council is an interesting body. It serves no purpose but to provide a disciplinary forum for plaintiffs who would have their cases thrown out of a court. Complaints with little or no evidence are heard, upheld, and the teacher concerned can be punished.

We were told that the GTC exists to promote the interests of teachers and would work to raise the profession's profile. Strange, then, that it seems powerless to uphold teachers' complaints against schools, local education authorities or parents.

We are forced - and must pay - to belong to a body that likens itself to the General Medical Council and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. But when newly-qualified vets pay their dues, they can at least add MRCVS to their letters.

No need to go to a court or tribunal where you will have to prove your case. Just take your complaint to the GTC. The teacher will be presumed guilty until proven innocent and the council will do your dirty work.

Of course, if we don't like it we can leave, and experienced staff are doing so, and being replaced by NQTs or "super assistants". The value of the profession is plummeting, and with fewer teachers making it to a full pension, the costs of pensions fall. Successful business plan!

Look in your doctor's surgery for the poster that says health workers have a right to work without fear of abuse. But you won't find one your local school.

Chris Whitelaw Seaford, East Sussex

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