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Time to counterbalance bilious GTCE comments

Stephen Pollard's opinion piece last week on the General Teaching Council for England makes abundantly clear the need for an independent body to champion the professionalism of teaching - if only to counterbalance the ill-informed bile of those who are threatened by it.

Membership of the GTCE is not voluntary. It is funded almost entirely by teachers' subscriptions. Its chief executive has made no comment in justification, or otherwise, of its continued existence.

Mr Pollard's assertion that GTCE policies are dominated by the teacher unions indicates that he can never have attended a council meeting or read a GTCE policy paper. Because it is a teaching council, rather than a teachers' council, it has scrupulously appraised evidence drawn from pupils, parents, teachers, governors, employers, unions, stakeholder groups and academic research. Pupil voice and accountability to parents have been at the heart of much of its recent work.

In the Teacher Learning Academy, it has created a means for improvement in practice which has already benefited some 20,000 teachers. And, yes, many of them are, indeed, wonderful.

Tony Neal, chair of policy and research, GTC England.

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