Tories do a union tango;News amp; Opinion

5th November 1999 at 00:00
SCOTTISH Tories have formed a unique alliance with the main teaching unions in arguing for parents' rights to refer alleged incompetent teachers to the General Teaching Council.

Ministers have so far sided with continued local authority control of referrals, an approach challenged by the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association.

In their response to the consultation on the future of the GTC, the Tories say the council should be the "sole arbiter" of professional competence. "We do not believe that local authority employers have a particularly proud record in this regard and we therefore reject the idea that only a local authority can refer a teacher to the GTC on matters of teaching incompetence," the party states.

Such an open approach would be in line with the ability of clients of lawyers, accountants and doctors to refer complaints to their professional bodies. The Tories say the GTC has an "exemplary" record in disciplining teachers and would be able "to root out any vexatious complaint".

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