Education Quangos: Who will monitor the curriculum now?

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The Independent Online

The war on quangos has already claimed three education bodies – with the prospect of a fourth in the near future.

Although few tears have been shed for the demise of Becta, a body which advised schools on new technology, plans to scrap the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), the profession's regulatory body, and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority, which monitors the national curriculum, have provoked more controversy.

The loss of the GCTE leaves teaching without a body to hold disciplinary hearings that can lead to the striking-off of incompetent teachers. Earlier this month, it was criticised in a BBC Panorama programme for holding too few disciplinary hearings, rather than too many. Similarly, most teachers – whilst they may not fully support the national curriculum – do believe that there should be some body to monitor its development.

In both cases, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has yet to announce how essential work done by these bodies should be handled.

The fourth body expected to be scrapped, or face severe pruning, is the Partnership for Schools programme, which was responsible for running Labour's £55bn school rebuilding programme. With the scheme under review and hundreds of school building contracts cancelled (and it is being blamed by Conservative sources for Mr Gove publishing an error-strewn list of the cancelled contracts), it would seem likely to face the chop.

During the election campaign, a question mark was also placed over the Training and Development Agency, which is responsible for the recruitment and training of teachers. The Conservatives had wanted to put schools in charge of training but, since taking office, a softer line appears to have been taken over the agency's future.

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