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Turnout for GTC poll continues to slide

The General Teaching Council for Scotland was taking a resigned view of its election results this week, despite a turnout of teachers even lower than that for the previous ballot in 2001.

The poll count was 22 per cent, against 26 per cent four years ago. The GTC points out that the turnout in elections to the teaching councils in England and Wales was even lower, at 10 per cent and 18 per cent respectively - although they are much newer kids on the block compared to their Scottish counterpart, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year.

There was markedly more interest among primary and nursery teachers, with a turnout of 24 per cent, than among secondary staff where the vote represented just 19 per cent of those eligible, down from 25 per cent in 2001.

Headteachers turned out with greater enthusiasm than teachers - 35 per cent in primarynursery and 48 per cent in secondary, although each of those categories fell by 9 percentage points compared to four years ago.

The Educational Institute of Scotland which, like the other teacher organisations, puts up an unofficial "slate" of favoured candidates, lost a key primary member, has only three of eight seats in the council's secondary membership and was beaten by the Headteachers' Association of Scotland for the three secondary head seats.

A GTC Scotland spokesman said: "We are disappointed at the fall in numbers taking part in the election, despite an extensive media campaign to encourage people to take part and vote.

"This included advertising in national papers, including TES Scotland, advertising online and significant promotion on council emails and its website. It would appear that low turnout is a problem for all public elections at present and this has been reflected in our elections."

However, the council was pleased with the quality of those elected to serve on it.

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