What will the GTC do for me?

29th December 2000 at 00:00
IT was, of course, inevitable that a "turf war" would break out following the launch of the General Teaching Council (TES, December 15). The unions should not be surprised by it.

The GTC owes its existence partly to the abject inability of the unions to represent coherently the interests of teachers. If the unions' leaderships were to respond with conviction and unity to issues rather than studiously adopting different approaches from each other, then the raison d'etre of the GTC would be significantly less. The posturing over the threshold and its aftermath served to underline this.

I cannot therefore agree with Anthea Bisgroves view that "we should have as many voices as possible supporting teachers". We should have one, and it should not be the GTC.

I am trying to keep an open mind. There are, however, a number of issues which require further explanation. I have not yet given my consent to a change in my working conditions, nor to the deduction of "subscription".

I do not yet know what I will be getting for my subsciption, which like membership itself, presumably is non-voluntary. Furthermore, having paid for my membership of this body, I will not have any direct access to it.

It will claim to represent my interests, yet without any reference to me. It is supposedly independent yet over 20 per cent of its members are government appointees.

I am not convinced of the need for another code of conduct. It will, apparently, "emphasise teachers' professional status". But surely the suggestion that one is needed will undermine professional status.

The number of points needing explanation backs the view that "awareness of the GTC continues to be at a low level". Of as much interest to me is its level of support among teachers. I look forward to further circulars from Ms Adams and co addressing these issues.

D Lumley Head of modern languages Summerhill school Kingswinford, Suffolk

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