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Training agency will keep control of funding

The Teacher Training Agency is taking a determinedly sanguine view of the Government's proposals for a General Teaching Council, but there are still doubts about the eventual balance of power between the two bodies, and how far their respective roles would overlap or conflict.

In one sense the TTA can breathe a sigh of relief - its control over the funding and accreditation of teacher education courses will continue, at least for the time being, according to the GTC consultation paper published yesterday. "We envisage that the TTA will continue to exercise responsibility for directing public funding to institutions," it says. Before the election, Labour's plans were less clear, with some MPs arguing that the TTA should be abolished or submerged within a GTC.

A TTA spokesman said that "the GTC is an idea whose time has come; an independent voice for teachers in terms of raising the status of teaching is essential and the TTA looks forward to a productive relationship".

But the Government proposes various functions for the GTC which are currently carried out by the TTA.

The GTC will be expected to play a key role in advising the Secretary of State on targets for recruitment into teacher training, and in promoting teaching as a career and presenting a positive image of the profession.

All of this is now carried out by the TTA, whose chief executive, Anthea Millett, has consistently argued that the profession needs a better image and more structure in the form of different grades of teacher if the best graduates are to be lured into the classroom.

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