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Education Act 2002

General Teaching Councils for England and Wales

Section 148
Section 148 and Schedule 12: The General Teaching Councils

291.This Schedule amends section 2 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (THEA) by extending the existing advisory functions of the GTCs for England and for Wales.

292.The Schedule amends section 3 of the THEA (relating to the registration of teachers with the GTCs for England and for Wales) giving the Secretary of State or the NAW power to introduce a new category of provisional registration of teachers. Eligibility for such registration will be defined in the regulations, and is expected to apply to trainee teachers and overseas teachers. Registration for teachers with qualified teacher status is consequently redefined as “full” registration.

293.The Schedule also provides that a person will not be eligible for registration, whether full or provisional, unless he or she has been judged by the GTCs as suitable to be a teacher. It will be for the GTCs to determine suitability. They might, for example, wish to satisfy themselves as to the good character of individuals by means of criminal record checks and character references for overseas teachers. Amendments to the Police Act 1997 provide that the GTCs have access to criminal records. The GTCs will exercise their functions on the assessment of suitability at the point that a person applies to become provisionally registered or re-registered; or fully registered or re-registered.

294.The Schedule provides for a right of appeal to the High Court against a refusal of an application for registration on the grounds of suitability. The power to make regulations in section 4 of the THEA is extended so that an applicant so refused may be informed of the reasons for the decision and of his or her right of appeal.

295.Section 4 of the THEA is also amended to provide that the GTCs, in setting the level of the fee, should have regard to expenditure on all their functions, including registration.

296.The Schedule extends the functions of the GTCs to include activities designed to promote the standing of the teaching profession.

297.The Schedule amends Schedule 1 to the THEA to allow the Secretary of State and the NAW by order to amend certain provisions of Schedule 1 with a view to removing or relaxing the controls which they exercise over the GTCs for England and Wales respectively – for example, to remove the need for their consent to the borrowing of money by the GTCs, or to the provision of pension schemes.

298.The Schedule amends Schedule 2 to the THEA to allow the GTCs to attach conditions to any suspension order made in relation to a teacher against whom they bring disciplinary proceedings. Where a suspension order is made, the teacher’s name is removed from the register. Under the amendment, the teacher would be required to comply with any conditions – for example, to undertake a course of counselling – before he or she is eligible to be registered again.

299.The Schedule also amends Schedule 2 to the THEA to provide that references to registration mean either full or provisional registration.

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