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The future of the GTC

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By Keith BartleyGeneral Teaching Council

The GTC is embarking on a programme of work which, over the next four years, seeks to secure a new vision for teaching. Keith Bartley lays out their role…

Since the inception of the General Teaching Council for England in 2000, we have faced sceptiscm and criticism, as well as some praise, and I hope an increasing recognition of the value that an independent professional body can add to teaching. Registration with the GTC is a legal requirement but we are very keen that teachers see the GTC not just as something you have to be registered with, but as a professional community whose services and networks you actively want to use.

We are making many practical contributions to teachers’ lives through our research and advice on improving continuing professional development opportunities, and through our professional networks, and the Teacher Learning Academy, now being rolled out nationally to support and recognise teachers’ classroom based learning.

The GTC is committed to supporting teachers’ professionalism and we are currently in the process of developing a new Code of Conduct and Practice. The new Code will take account of the much closer work with other professionals, including health professionals and social workers that teachers now undertake. The draft also reflects the growing body of evidence now available about what constitutes good teaching practice.

Having a professional Code, developed with and shared by teachers, is a hallmark of a profession. Teaching, and the expectations on teachers, have changed enormously in recent years. A key part of the GTC’s role is to support the raising of standards in the public interest. The development of a new Code, reflecting teachers’ enormous commitment and unique skills, will help us to support the profession to articulate clearly its shared values and expectations about behaviour and practice. You can have your say at

It is important that the GTC works with all education groups but being an independent professional body means that we are very well placed to lead a debate about the future of teaching.

The GTC is embarking on a programme of work which, over the next four years, seeks to secure a new vision for teaching and for children and young people and to support the highest standards among our highly skilled and dedicated profession. As a profession we need to demonstrate to policy makers why and how things should change.

The debate about the future for the profession must involve Government, the public and the wider social partnership but should be led by the profession. The GTC is not Government – so it is not responsible for policy. It is not an employer of teachers – although it has a remit to regulate the profession. It is not an employee organisation that represents the interests of individual teachers – but, importantly, it is an organisation that supports teacher professionalism on behalf of the profession as a whole and ‘in the public interest’, and that uses evidence from teachers in the advice it gives.

To launch this debate, the GTC has drawn up a working draft of what teaching and the teaching profession could look like by 2012; the aspirations the profession might set for itself in short to medium term. You can see the statement at It describes a profession that motivates its teachers to ‘achieve progressively higher levels of professional practice’ and teachers who are proud to belong to it. I look forward to hearing from you.



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