The EIS has highlighted its serious concerns over the Scottish Government’s plans to disband the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and to transfer its functions to a new Education Workforce Council whose members would be appointed rather than in part elected by the teaching profession as they currently are.
The GTCS is a fully independent body which is responsible for upholding Standards within teaching, and for approving all applications for registration to teach in Scotland’s schools.
Commenting on proposals to disband the GTCS, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS is committed to defending the role of the GTCS, in the face of this unwarranted interference by Scottish Government on its independence."
"Teachers fund the GTCS through our subscriptions and have an elected majority on its ruling Council. What right does Scottish Government have to remove that democratic accountability from the profession?"
"The Deputy First Minister often talks of empowering teachers; a useful first step would be to take his hands off our GTCS."
Mr Flanagan continued, "At a time when we are seeking to enhance the status of teaching as a profession, in order to recruit additional high-quality graduates into our schools, this undermining of our professional standards body is profoundly unhelpful and deeply troubling."
"Is it coincidence that these proposals have come after a period when the GTCS has been resolute in upholding professional standards in the face of the Scottish Government’s flirtation with Teach First and while the Scottish Government is pursuing "fast-track" approaches to teacher training?"
The GTCS is an independent body and the EIS believes the Government should respect the work that it does rather than seeking to undermine or control it on the basis of a centralising agenda."
"The GTCS is also internationally recognised as a success story and has provided a model for teaching councils globally for the work that it does to support the teaching profession in the interests of quality education."
The current proposal is to merge the GTCS with the Standards Council for Community Learning and Development for Scotland and then open it up to other education workers.
The EIS is clearly not opposed to other education staff having a professional standards body but does not believe that a 'one-size-fits- all' approach is the best way to achieve this. Indeed, it has the potential to be a set-back on the road to greater quality and equity in the education system in Scotland.
Mr Flanagan added, "No evidence has been provided by the Scottish Government as to why this merger is needed or where the support for the change is coming from."
"It seems to be a case of the government feeling the need to 'do something' for the sake of being seen to change things."