The new Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove's decision to axe the General Teaching Council (GTC) has been welcomed by the Solidarity Trade Union. The Union has however questioned his competence and knowledge as a result of comments he made as part of his announcement.
Solidarity had been in a protracted struggle over three years with the GTC concerning its charges against one of the Union members Mr Adam Walker which was designed to prevent him from teaching. Ultimately the charges against Mr Walker failed but the mere fact that the GTC wished to pursue such a political and draconian line was worrying. Other teaching Unions had also expressed concern over the GTC's interference in teachers private lives including its new ‘code of conduct’ which seeks to regulate teachers' activities and behaviour outside of work. We, like most teachers, are happy to see it abolished.
Gove cited the case of Adam Walker, however, as an example of GTC failure. He said:- “When the GTC was recently asked to rule on a BNP teacher who had posted poisonous filth on an extremist website, it concluded that his description of immigrants as animals wasn't racist so he couldn't be struck off”.
Even this short statement is wrong in three important respects.
Firstly, the website/forum concerned was a mainstream local forum and not '"extremist" in any way.
Secondly, Adam Walker only criticised immigrants who took part in violent crime such as murder and rape not ALL immigrants.
Thirdly, 'immigrants' is not a racial term. Immigrants come from all races.
The GTC judgement is available for all to see - it was published on their website. That the Education Minister has not done his homework and misrepresented the facts regarding the outcome of a Professional hearing calls both his ability and judgement into question. Our report on Michael Gove:- "could do better, more effort required".