SSTA response to the increase in GTCS Fees

SSTA response to the increase in General Teaching Council for Scotland(GTCS) Fees

The SSTA Head Office has been inundated with members complaining about the planned £15 (30%) annual increase in GTCS fees from £50 to £65 in 2017. SSTA members are extremely angry about what they see is an unjustified increase at a time of education cuts.

Teachers have had to face a cut in ‘real’ salary in the last few years and work in an education service that has had to face significant reductions in funding. Schools budgets have been cut resulting in cuts to teachers, support staff and teaching resources. The GTCS seems to be insensitive to its members and current situation within education by approving a substantial increase in the annual fee.

Like other teaching unions, the SSTA is not formally represented on the GTCS and was not consulted on the £15 (30%) increase. The decision to increase the fee was made by the GTCS Council in December. GTCS Council members are elected as representatives of a sector but are unaccountable to GTCS members in schools.

Whilst the SSTA recognises the importance of GTCS Registration as a confirmation of teachers’ skills and suitability to teach in schools in Scotland, the SSTA is concerned about the expansion of the work of GTCS at the expense of its teacher members. These were highlighted in a GTCS response to a SSTA member:

“As part of our work we offer multiple services each year such as:

  • Processing the applications of hundreds of teachers from across the world who wish to teach in Scotland
  • Managing the Teacher Induction Scheme and supporting over 2,500 probationers teachers and their supporters each year
  • Managing the Student Placement System which involves placing hundreds of students in schools
  • Managing the teacher profiles of probationers, those on the flexible route etc.
  • Managing and administrating Professional Update and the new MyProfessionalLearning service
  • We hold hundreds of professional learning meets and events each year to support teacher professional development
  • We are launching professional learning awards this year which will further support teacher professional learning

The GTCS fee and the increase can be allocated to the expenditure contained in the GTCS Annual Report 2015-16. This information will only heighten a review of the work of the GTCS and what teachers in schools should be asked to pay for.

  • Council Governance 4% (£2 to £2.60)
  • Registration Services 20% (£10 to £13)
  • Fitness to Teach 20% (£10 to £13)
  • Support 11% (£5.50 to £7.15)
  • Education Services 25% (£12.50 to £16.25)
  • Customer Services and Communications 20% (£10 to £13)"

SSTA is of the view that

  • The GTCS should reconsider its decision to increase the fee and show solidarity with its members by working within the current fee of £50
  • The GTCS should focus on its essential role of registration and accrediting teacher programmes.
  • Should the GTCS see itself as an agency that carries out functions on behalf of the Government and/or Employers then those bodies, and not GTCS members, should be expected to contribute to the additional costs.