General Council of Education “is no longer at the service of the profession”


The president of the National Association of School Principals (NAHT) called for urgent action to end the problems facing the General Council of Education (GTCNI) which he says no longer serves the teaching profession as it should.

President Graham Gault’s appeal came as the principals union held its annual two-day conference.

The GTCNI, the governing body of teachers, has been in conflict for several years with accusations of internal brawls and intimidation, and has been riddled with complaints about leadership.

The organization is currently subject to special measures imposed by the Ministry of Education and has admitted that it is dysfunctional in its current format.

In another setback, nearly 500 teachers remained pending enrollment before the start of the August school year, with all teachers required to register with the GTCNI before they could accept a post at a school.

“We believe that the current organization and functioning of the OEWG does not advance the principles of the GTCNI’s own mission statement,” said NAHT President Graham Gault.

“We have asked the conference to call on the NAHT to pursue all options to compel the Government of Northern Ireland to take urgent and appropriate action for the good of our profession and the children and youth we serve.”

The conference also heard calls from school leaders regarding increasing pressure on teachers’ workload, the clarity of school exams next summer, and the Education Authority’s responses to “the inability to teach”. plan for the growing number of students requiring placement in special schools ”.

“In other motions at the conference, we addressed issues regarding the advisory mechanisms of the Ministry of Education and sought support specifically in relation to full, meaningful and transparent consultation on kindergarten admissions,” said Mr. Gault.

“We also looked at the issues of post-primary assessment, zonal planning and the central issue of unsafe levels of workload for school leaders, which not only negatively affect the health of our members, but adversely affect the health of our members. also to the ability of our school leaders to fulfill their key roles in learning, teaching and safeguarding.

“We consider that the workload of school leaders is at such a level that it is now dangerous for their health and well-being.

“We need immediate action from employers to ensure that any workload review takes into account the implementation of a time budget for school leaders and that the current terms and conditions be revised. “

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: “GTCNI has informed the ministry that the majority of applications continue to be processed within the expected 6-8 week processing time and their staff continue to do their utmost to shorten this period as much as possible. ”

A spokesperson for the Education Authority (EA) said: “The Minister of Education recently approved EA’s first special program. Strategic area plan for education, which will be developed and published in partnership with schools by June 2022. It will be fully consulted in the new year.

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