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Friday, 3 December, 1999, 14:04 GMT
Puttnam heads new teaching council
lord puttnam Lord Puttnam: Teachers' champion

The film producer Lord Puttnam has been chosen to chair the new body which will regulate the teaching profession in England.

Lord Puttnam, who among his many achievements is chancellor of Sunderland University, said he wanted the General Teaching Council (GTC) to be a "standard-bearer for the profession."

Teachers are this country's most valuable resource
Lord Puttnam
He has done this himself already, as the driving force behind the Platos - the 'teachers' Oscars', celebrating excellence in different aspects of teaching, which were awarded for the first time this year.

The government has announced that Lord Puttnam will chair the GTC for its first 18 months, from September next year.

The council, established in the 1998 Teaching and Higher Education Act, will be made up of elected members from the profession and a minority of government appointees. Separate councils are in prospect for Wales and Northern Ireland - while Scotland has had one since 1965.

'High status deserved'

It will advise the education secretary on standards of teaching and conduct for teachers, on the role of the teaching profession and the recruitment and career development of teachers, and on whether a teacher should be sacked or prohibited from teaching.

Lord Puttnam, who left school at 16, said: "I feel immensely privileged to have this opportunity to work on behalf of teachers to bring the status of their profession to the high levels which it undoubtedly deserves.

"Teachers are this country's most valuable resource and absolutely pivotal to its future. I will do my best to ensure the council becomes an independent standard-bearer for the profession."

His deputy is to be Professor John Tomlinson, former director of the Institute of Education at Warwick University.

Former chief education officer and government education adviser Carol Adams has already been appointed chief executive.

'Wrong person'

Announcing Lord Puttnam's appointment, Education Minister Jacqui Smith said: "Working with the GTC chief executive Carol Adams, he will establish the council as a credible, prestigious and professional body for teaching which will speak authoritatively and independently on the issues affecting teachers."

The Secondary Heads Association said Lord Puttnam was a strong advocate for teaching and the GTC could become "the strong voice which the teaching profession needs."

But the small Professional Asociation of Teachers was critical.

Its general secretary, Kay Driver, said: "Lord Puttnam is a highly respected and capable individual who is a good friend of the teaching profession ...

"However, he is not the right person for this job. PAT was looking for the first chair to be a successful teacher or head teacher rather than a political appointee chosen by the secretary of state.

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See also:
12 Apr 99 |  Education
A new voice for teachers
06 May 99 |  Legislation
Teaching and Higher Education Act
26 Nov 99 |  Wales
Teachers' union condemns Government over council
14 Jul 99 |  Education
Teaching body wins new muscle

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