Commenting on the announcement by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, that the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) is to be abolished, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:
"I have absolutely no doubt that the Secretary of State's decision will be warmly welcomed by teachers across the country. I have frequently said that if the GTCE was abolished tomorrow few would notice and even less would care.
"For years, the NASUWT has been warning the GTCE that it was failing to gain the respect and confidence of the profession or to act appropriately in the public interests. Too much time, energy and resource has been frittered away on pursuing projects and issues which duplicated the work of other bodies and did little or nothing to enhance the status of the profession.
"The GTCE's recently revised Code of Conduct and Practice was largely unworkable. Over 30,000 teachers signed the NASUWT petition for its withdrawal. The NASUWT consistently urged the GTCE to focus on its regulatory function but recently even its ability to exercise that responsibly was thrown into question by its decision not to sanction British National Party (BNP) member, Adam Walker, for racist activity. This may well have sealed its fate.
"At the NASUWT Conference in April this year there was unanimous support for a motion calling for the abolition of the GTCE. The Government appears to be abolishing the body, not its statutory functions. Urgent discussions, therefore, are now needed about how these functions will be discharged properly in future.
"Decisions about a teacher's future career as a result of a disciplinary or competence sanction imposed by employers cannot and must not be left to the determination of individual schools. A robust, clear, fair and transparent procedure is needed."