This week teachers will be glad to see Gove has been quango - cutting again. Following the death of Becta and the QCDA, he has announced the scrapping of the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), a disciplinary watchdog, whose worth has long been questioned by those working in education. It’s great to see the power of so many meddlesome quangos being removed in an attempt to return some respect and autonomy back into the teaching profession.
My teacher friends can vouch for the fact that, as far as they are aware, the GTCE has done nothing to aid them in their careers or in the quality of their work. Instead over the last few years it has patronised these professionals and busybodied without aiding educational output. In 2009 they created a ‘code of conduct’, instructing teachers how they should behave both inside and outside of the classroom. It was a laughable act, which many teachers found insulting and interfering. Teachers, more than most professionals I believe, have had to face constant interference and change under the past government, which at times has made getting on with the task of providing the best education possible for each child in their care near impossible. A pruning down of the various watchdogs and educational bodies has long been overdue and this move should be a step towards the re-professionalising of the teaching profession.
These quango cuts, combined with Gove’s academies reform, signals a significant change in attitude to the education sector. The government is forging a new relationship of trust in giving schools the freedoms they have needed for so long and in responding to the calls of teachers for the end of these meddlesome quangos. And it’s clearly paying off – in the first week since Gove called on schools to apply to become academies over 1,000 have signed up. This response just goes to show that many in the education sector desperately want greater autonomy. Gove’s moves will all help to de-politicize education and allow the teachers and schools to provide the best quality education without the tight constraints of an overly-prescriptive curriculum, excessive paperwork and the patronising interference from quangos. Finally we might actually have an education system where those who know best, the headteachers and those in the classroom, have more influence than the career bureaucrats.