Teachers' Body in Crisis as Just One in Eight Signs Up

Article excerpt

THE NEW professional body for teachers is facing a financial crisis after fewer than one in eight staff signed up to pay its pounds 23 subscription fee, according to the largest teaching union.

The General Teaching Council, set up to promote and regulate teachers, needs all 410,000 teachers in England to pay the charge if it is to fund its pounds 10.5m- a-year plans for the future.

But only 50,000 staff have so far volunteered to pay the subscription, which will allow them to register with the council and allow them to continue teaching in state schools.

The GTC says it will, as a last resort, fund its budget by forcing teachers to pay and getting their employers to take the money out of their pay packets without their consent.

However, the National Union of Teachers argues that many local education authorities will not have the systems in place to do this, leaving the council with a large budget shortfall.

Doug McAvoy, the union's general secretary, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris, urging her to bail the GTC out by funding all its budget so that teachers will not have to pay.

"The Council faces a crisis in the funding of its activities," Mr McAvoy said. "A fundamental question is whether the GTC should have taken decisions requiring an expenditure of this level without first establishing the desire of teachers for the products of those decisions and their willingness to pay.

"Teachers have not been persuaded to pay the GTC fee voluntarily. Their resistance stems less from the amount concerned than from their objection to the imposition of a fee for the privilege of continuing to teach."

Earlier this year, every teacher in England was asked to give the council their bank details or payroll number so that money could be taken from their bank or pay packet. …