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General Teaching Council

Education written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) what assessment he has made of the (a) cost and (b) benefits of the abolition of the General Teaching Council;

(2) how many staff will cease to be employed as a result of the abolition of the General Teaching Council;

(3) how many representations he has received on the abolition of the General Teaching Council;

(4) what plans he has to establish communication mechanisms between teachers and his Department following the abolition of the General Teaching Council;

(5) what plans he has to promote professional skills for teachers following the abolition of the General Teaching Council.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Education Act 2011 provided for the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) to be abolished on 31 March 2012. Those functions of the GTCE that are continuing will be carried out by the Teaching Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Education, which will be established on 1 April 2012. The impact assessment for the Education Act 2011 is available from the Department's website:

Included within this is an assessment of the cost and benefits of the abolition of the GTCE. The cost of abolition is estimated to be £15 million and the savings from abolition are estimated to be £11 million per annum between 2012-13 and 2019-20.

During the passage of the Education Act 2011 the Department received 93 pieces of correspondence relating to the abolition of the GTCE. In addition, officials have met unions to discuss the abolition of the GTCE and a public consultation was held on the teacher disciplinary and induction regulations. The consultation ran from 20 July to 12 October 2011 and a summary of responses will be published on the Department's website shortly at:

GTCE employees are able to transfer to the DfE or its agencies, or accept voluntary redundancy under the GTCE's own scheme. Until the GTCE has closed its voluntary redundancy scheme we will not know how many staff members have decided not to accept a transfer to the Department.

The Department has transition plans in place to continue any essential communications that are required following the abolition of the General Teaching Council. Plans are under way to transfer essential web content and other materials, and to consider any direct communications that may be needed. In line with our wider efficiencies work and work to reduce the bureaucratic burdens on teachers, we are taking the opportunity to refine our communications, slim down guidance and cut unnecessary activity. Communications with teachers will continue through the Teaching Agency from 1 April.

The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend Michael Gove, outlined his plans to develop the professional skills of teachers in the Schools White Paper: The Importance of Teaching and the ITT Strategy. This approach is based on research that shows that teachers learn best from other professionals through observing teaching, being observed, and receiving feedback from peers. On 8 November the Department published an implementation plan for changes to initial teacher training (ITT) from 2012/13. This includes proposals to reform training so that more ITT is led by schools and there is focus on the most important elements of being a teacher.

New Teacher Standards will come into force from September 2012 and will focus on the essential elements of effective teaching and the professional conduct expected of every teacher. We are also creating a national network of teaching schools on the model of teaching hospitals and launching a new scholarship scheme for teachers. It will be the role of the Teaching Agency to promote the use of the Standards at all levels in professional development, performance management and in procedures for underperforming teachers.

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