Get Education Bill right, Welsh Assembly urged


The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) has expressed concern that the Welsh government is in danger of missing an opportunity with its Education Bill.

Under the new legislation the regulatory standards body will become known as the Education Workforce Council and aspects of its role will change.

While the council supports plans to extend registration from teachers working in maintained schools to learning support workers and further education staff, members say the legislation does not go far enough and are urging Welsh Assembly members to get this legislation “right”.

During a debate on the Bill at a recent meeting of the council, chairwoman Angela Jardine summed up member’s concerns.

“An opportunity has been missed to redress the anomaly which sees teachers working in private and independent schools being excluded from the requirement to be registered and regulated and the safeguards provided by such registration,” she said.

“Second, the independence of the reconfigured council is fettered by a number of requirements, including the need to receive permission from the minister before it can offer advice to the government or any other body. Furthermore, the Bill proposes that the profession’s own code of conduct and practice – previously conceived, devised and promoted by the GTCW – will be created by the minister in the first instance.

“We are also concerned that the proposal to change the GTCW’s title to Education Workforce Council does not convey the professionalism of existing teachers or the future widened group of education practitioners.”

Former secondary headteacher and council member Mal Davies added: “The profession absolutely must own its code of conduct and the ability to provide advice and critique at will is fundamental to the role of an independent professional body.”

Concerns were also raised at the meeting that members of the new council would be appointed by the minister.

Ms Jardine, who called on Assembly members to listen to the council’s concerns, added: “There are some six points that stand between this good Bill becoming great legislation. We hope the Welsh government will show a willingness to get this right.”

Meanwhile, a consultation on arrangements for safeguarding children in education in Wales has been launched.

The consultation is asking for people’s views on changes to current guidance for local authorities, school governing bodies and proprietors of independent schools.

Education minister Huw Lewis said: “This guidance helps schools, further education colleges and local authorities to create and maintain safe learning environments for children and young people.” The consultation closes on October 25. For details, visit


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