FURIOUS Scottish teachers have started a petition against their own regulator over an “unacceptable” 30% hike in annual fees.
Teachers in Scotland are required to be registered by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) which has increased the payment from £50 to £65.
A petition against the compulsory increase has attracted 8,637 signatures by teachers out of the target of 9,000.
The GTCS says that the fee increase is unavoidable and has been imposed with a “heavy heart.”
But the body admits it needs to do much more to make the profession aware of what it does.
One teacher who signed the petition – “Abandon General Teaching Council Scotland fee increase” – said: “It’s ridiculous to have to pay to do your job.
“Also, being given only a 1% wage increase but being expected to pay a much greater percentage towards a registration fee seems unfair and once again devalues teachers.”
Another put: “A 30% increase in GTC fees is totally unjustified when all we get is a glossy magazine that few bother to read.”
One said: “What are we getting for this ridiculous price rise? We have no choice in being registered with this lot and they’re taking advantage of us.”
General Secretary of the teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Larry Flanagan, also criticised the price hike.
He said the increase was “unacceptably high, especially at a time when teachers’ pay has been declining in real terms”.
He added: “We are aware that the GTCS has significant cash reserves and we believe that it should be seeking to use this money to reduce any fee increase.
“Whilst the EIS values the work of the GTCS, and its independence from government, this increase will leave many teachers frustrated and angry.”
The GTCS’s duties include maintaining a register of teachers in Scotland, advising the Scottish Government and holding fitness to teach hearings for staff accused of malpractice.
Ken Muir, chief executive of the GTCS said: “There was no way to avoid an increase on this scale.
“We’re accepting that we need to do more to remind [members] about what it is they get for their money.”
Announcing the fee increase on their website, the GTCS said: “This is a rise of £1.25 per month and was unanimously approved by our Council members at their meeting on Wednesday 14 December 2016.
“The GTCS Council is made up of teachers, lay members and appointees of which a majority are teachers.
“GTCS last approved a fee increase in 2013. We have incurred a planned but substantial deficit over the last three years and this is, clearly, no longer appropriate.”
Responding to criticism of the “glossy magazine” the watchdog produces, communications director Martin Osler said: “The collorary to that is, well, if you read the magazine, then you would know a lot more about what the GTCS does.”