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Bad start for the Education Workforce Council: Barely half of lecturers know about it, and resentment is growing about 'tax on teaching'

The Education Act of 2014 makes provision for the transformation of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) into the Education Workforce Council (EWC). All teachers currently registered with the GTCW will be transferred to the EWC. From April next year FE teachers will be required to register with the new body. From 2016 support staff in both schools and colleges will be required to do the same. The fee for membership has not yet been set but could be as high as £78. The Welsh Government is currently undertaking a series of consultations about the EWC, including ones on fees and a proposed Code of Conduct.
ATL, the leading education union, and the only union that includes both school and FE staff in membership, undertook a survey to ascertain members' views between 7th and 26th October. (A summary of the results of the survey are below)
Key findings were:
• Almost half of FE lecturers (43%) were unaware that they would be required to register with the new body
• Over half (52%) of members thought any fee should reflect full time and part time working status
• Nearly half (43%) thought any fee should reflect actual pay
• The vast majority (73%) want to see the National Assembly retain its veto over any proposed fee increase by the new body
• An overwhelming number were opposed to any 'tax on teaching'
• Many were sceptical about the benefits of the new body

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said:
'It is very disturbing that with less than six months to go barely half of FE teachers know that they will be required to register with the Education Workforce Council, and that their pay packets will be raided to pay for this new body. Yet again the government's communication strategy is failing to reach the front line.
But even more surprising was the depth of antipathy that already exists towards the new body and scepticism about its worth, especially as ATL has historically been one of the GTCW's keener supporters. Teachers and Lecturers bitterly resent the fee, which they see as 'a tax on teaching', and want to know what they are getting for their money. As financial budgets tighten, and given the tiny increases in teachers' pay over the last few years, the EWC will have to prove that it is adding value to education in Wales and is not just an expensive luxury which we can ill afford.'

Comments from members included:
FE support worker: 'Support workers are not respected enough or paid enough to foot these bills. Eg as an hourly paid support worker I am forced to attend meetings unpaid and not paid holiday pay. Why should I pay for this?'
Secondary school teacher: 'This is a tax on Welsh teachers. What do we get for it? They do not give anything back to the work force. There is no benefit for individuals. Just another layer of bureaucracy sucking up money. What a waste.'
FE lecturer: 'This is once again a cash cow for the government. Why after 25 years of teaching in FE should I have to pay for some do-gooders to come up with a load of codswalop. Education in Wales is in a mess as it is without more crazy ideas.'
FE lecturer: 'As an FE lecturer, I decided to stop making payment to GTCW some time ago. They have been less than helpful when I have contacted them and appear to me to only take payments of fees. Perhaps we should look hard at the fruits of the GTCW's labours before creating another body such as this!'
A FE lecturer: 'Don't really understand why I'm going to have to pay someone, just so I can go to work!'
(More comments can be found at the end of the survey)

Note
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 160,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom. It has over 6,500 members in Wales.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice. ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.

Summary of Survey Results

Q1: Which of the following best describes your role?
Teacher 47.1%
FE lecturer 18.2%
Support worker 13.5%
Student teacher/lecturer 3.0%
Other 18.2%

Q2: If you are an FE lecturer, do you know about the requirement to register in April 2015?
Yes: 57%
No: 43%

Q3: How many hours a week do you work?
Full-time (25 hours a week or more) 74.2%
Part-time (less than 25 hours a week) 25.8%

Q4: Do you agree that the fee level should be set according to these [proposed] practitioner categories?
Yes 71.4%
No 28.6%

Q5: Do you think there should be further levels of fees differentiated by: (you can select more than one option)
Full or part time working? 51.7%
Pay grade? 29.3%
Actual pay? 43.2%
Proposed categories 7.7%
Other 13.9%
Comments included:
we shouldn't have to pay to be able to go to work.
This a tax on teachers that we should not have to pay.
I don't think there should be a fee
I don't want to join this organisation which doesn't exist on England.
support staff are paid a menial salary and should not have to pay at all.
I think joining should be optional and no one should be forced to pay
No fee should be paid
Actual no of days worked for part time ie 0.6, 0.8 - fees to be pro rata
There should not be a fee charged. What does the fee go towards?
I resent the whole thing - what's the purpose of it?
Govt should pay
should not pay any fees
No fees at all - I have never understood what the GTCW do!
what are paying for what will we get?
None at all
Shouldn't have to pay a registration fee
Flat fee for all
I don't want the EWC at all. What does it do?
I do not think there should be any fee
Does it provide a different service to different levels of service practitioners?
Some colleagues e.g. on hourly paid work would be devastated by a full flat-rate fee
Can't comment because I am unaware of any benefit/reason for these fees
I don't think there should be a fee for a compulsory setup
No fees
There should be no fee!
Should not be a tax on working in Welsh Schools and Colleges
Another cost for staff to bear or if the College has to pay in these depressed income days of funding another expense.
TAs have not had a pay rise for a number of years, maybe they could address this first rather than issue what is in effect yet another pay cut.
Flat fee for all

Q6: Should the current subsidy for school teachers in the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) be redistributed amongst the whole education workforce?
Yes 70.7%
No 29.3%

Q7: Should the National Assembly maintain their current veto over any suggested level of fees proposed by the EWC itself?
Yes 72.6%
No 27.4%

Q8: Which of these is the EWC's most important function?
1 – improvement of standards 43.4%
2 – professional conduct 25.9%
3 – maintain public trust 13.9%
I don't know 16.7%

Q9: If there were no such body as the EWC, which of these functions should be retained and carried out by another body?
1 – improvement of standards 41.8%
2 – professional conduct 30.3%
3 – maintain public trust 10.4%
I don't know 17.5%

Q10: Are there any other comments you would like to make?
Comments included:
Support workers are not respected enough or paid enough to foot these bills. Eg as an hourly paid support worker I am forced to attend meetings unpaid and not paid holiday pay. Why should I pay for this?
Fees originally went towards the cost of CPD and training. That is no longer the case. It isn't clear what the fees are being used for other than creating a register of teachers and educational workers. If work is sparse it can become expensive to remain on the register without any obvious benefits.
Not happy I have to pay whatever the Govt. deems OK
EWC needs to be allowed a greater voice in improving teaching standards.
Standards will improve if you have the respect of the pupils and other staff. How you conduct yourself gains you that respect and trust.
I disagree that a fee should be charged - with paying union fees and subscriptions to organisations closely related to line of work, teachers are having to pay out more without an increase in salary.
This is a tax on Welsh teachers. What do we get for it. They do not give anything back to the work force. There is no benefit for individuals. Just another layer of bureaucracy sucking up money. What a waste.
I think the whole GTCW - and it's proposed replacement - is a waste of time and money. It should be scrapped.
I don't think you should have to pay to work within the teaching profession. There aren't many professions that require this.
It is Stalinist to make people pay to belong to an organisation that it is a talking shop
All the Teaching Councils seemed to do was punish staff, that provoked negative publicity.
Absolute waste of time and money. Will make no difference to anyone except to provide a ruck of overpaid jobs to people who can't teach and can't manage/lead/inspire.
Asking support staff to pay for the privilege of doing their jobs is ridiculous. Their pay, compared to teaching staff is very low and they are to be subjected to what amounts to a pay cut. It's very unfair.
where will the money go!! its another tax on my wages, why have i got to pay, i am qualified, have 17 years experience and do not need to pay yet another tax. That's my 1% pay rise gone and more
I don't contribute to this as I work in a independent school. When I worked in a state school I thought it was a complete waste of money and am pleased I don't have to pay into it any more.
I do not actually see what the current GTCW does for our profession apart from send me pointless brochures and I strongly object to having to pay to be a member, particularly as we pay more that English teachers pay their GTC. I do not believe that underpaid teaching assistants should have to pay anything. They already do more than enough for a minimal wage. The proposed £62 is outrageous and basically will fund bureaucracy.
I do not feel I have gained anything whatsoever in paying the fee every year since it commenced. I actually resent having to pay it!
GTCW used to have funding for CPD courses. Don't see any benefits of GTCW now that is no longer available.
I think the EWC is a waste of everyone's time and money
This is once again a cash cow for the government. Why after 25 years of teaching in FE should I have to pay for some do gooders to come up with a load of codswalop. Education in Wales is in a mess as it is without more crazy ideas.
What does the EWC add to the role played by ESTYN? Why should teachers be expected to pay for additional external regulation?
Necessary, but not happy with cost on top of pay freeze
I don't think people should have to pay to do their job. Especially support staff who are on a much lower pay salary than teachers.
Note should be made of those lecturers who only teach less than 100 a year.
Being registered in my opinion does not mean you are a good lecturer. Internal observations in the classroom environment demonstrates your ability as does feedback from students and exam/assessment results
I am concerned about the fee level with salaries not being increased but the cost of everything going up.
It's a tax on teachers. We are already subject to ESTYN inspections, contract law, employment law, laws of land etc - all these should be sufficient to ensure standards. Will create jobs, true, for more administrators, policy makers and I daresay consultants of various sorts, but I doubt very strongly it'll make a whit of difference to standards - drops in funding such as we are dealing with at the moment will run counter to anything that the EWC can achieve. Barking.
I do not believe educational practioners who receive their sole salary through the welsh government should pay any fees. Teachers are not enough as it stands now and to charge them a fee is adding insult to injury.
As an FE lecturer, I decided to stop making payment to GTCW some time ago. They have been less than helpful when I have contacted them and appear to me to only take payments of fees. Perhaps we should look hard at the fruits of the GTCW's labours before creating another body such as this!
Standards are driven by consortium and estyn. Gtcw does very little other than after criminal investigations. High fees do not seem to bring any benefits to average teaching staff!
Just more jobs for the boys
I don't agree with having to pay to be on a register. I just think that this is another money making scheme that the government are introducing!
Why not maintain GTCW and widen roll to FE/ also bring back grants for teachers professional development and not just those in the first 5 yes of teaching
Yet another way for the Welsh government to waste money that should be spent on educating pupils. I wonder how many millions the rebrand and reshuffle is costing. How much more can they skim off the top to keep themselves in jobs till someone stands up and says no more?
What's the situation for teachers in private schools?
Scrap the fees altogether. We did not ask for this organisation. It was forced on us.
I think the money spent on the EWC would be better used to employ more teachers to improve teacher - pupil ratios and have smaller class sizes.
Don't really understand why I'm going to have to pay someone, just so I can go to work!
Never heard of the EWC.
I would be happier to pay if I thought that I gained something from the membership. As far as I can see it is just another way that the government takes money from me and I get nothing in return!!!!
If the english get by without such a body why can't the Welsh. What does the body offer for its bureaucracy that the professional associations can't offer?
Just another Quango greedily devouring money better used elsewhere. More managers etc. mean empire building and demanding money to justify their supposed status. Get rid of them altogether.
We should follow the English model
No taxation without representation!!
What an awful name for a body. "Workforce"!!! It is almost stalinist in its overtones. Where is the dignity with which teachers etc should be accorded and those associated with the great task of education? What is wrong with the the title GTCW? Talk about demeaning the teaching profession. Well done Welsh Assembly (just for them...in case they dont get it ...I'm being scarcastic!)
England are managing without the GTC. Does Wales really need it?
Can't see any reason why these fees would achieve any of the aims stated. This is just a further tax on teachers and an erosion of lecturers pay. Standards might be raised if more was spent on providing the resources of teaching time that have been lost. Investment in valued teaching staff is needed.
If support staff are to pay these fees, will this extend to all non teaching staff in schools. If not, will schools or the Assembly pay these (support staff) charges.
If I had to pay a fee to work in education I would change jobs
I have no idea why it is already so much. What do they do?
We should all be working towards finding ways of allowing teachers/tutors to teach and not finding new ways of driving them out of the teaching profession. Constant nibbling at teachers/tutors confidence and professional integrity along with additional financial burden, is not the way to go.
taxation without representation is wrong. If teachers in England can manage without having to pay for a "professional "body then why can we in Wales. The removal of elected representatives from the EWC means that we will have to pay but have no say!!
No fee should be charged, as in England. This yet another reason why Wales is so far behind other countries. Given the dire funding of secondary education in wales this is yet another reason that dissuades the best teachers from teaching in wales.