There are separate Councils for the four principalities of the United Kingdom. The purpose of each Council is to monitor professional standards of teachers, and to establish a code of conduct, to be enforced through a disciplinary committee. The Council for Scotland (GTCS) has been in existence since 1965, and was one of the first teaching councils in the world. It has wider powers than the other three, including the power of approval for programmes of teacher education and training. Its 50 members including elected teachers, appointed representatives of local authorities, and those nominated by Scottish government ministers to represent the interests of parents, employers, and teachers of children with special educational needs. The Council for England (GTCE) was founded in 1999 following the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, and has been active since 2000. Of its 64 members, nine are teachers appointed by and representing teaching unions; sixteen are appointees from other relevant bodies; thirteen are nominees of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills; and one is appointed by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. In addition, there is a chair of council.
A Council for Wales (GTCW) was set up in the same year, with 25 members and a chair. In Wales teacher representation is proportionately higher than in England, with twelve elected teachers, nine nominees of teaching unions appointed by the National Assembly for Wales, and four direct appointees of the Assembly. All qualified teachers in the state sector must be registered with the Council, which is responsible for investigating and hearing cases of misconduct or incompetence. The Council advises the Assembly on policy in relation to teaching issues such as continuing professional development, recruitment, retention, and supply. It also administers funding programmes for the Welsh Assembly to meet the professional development needs of teachers.
A Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) was set up in 2002. It has 33 members, of whom fourteen are teachers elected by the profession. Five members are nominated by the Northern Ireland Teaching Council, ten by other stakeholders such as employers and higher education, and four are appointed by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland.
http://www.gtce.org.uk/aboutthegtc A detailed description of the GTCE's role and function.
http://www.gtcs.org.uk/About_GTCS/About_GTCS.asp A detailed description of the GTCS's origins and purpose.
http://www.gtcni.org.uk//index.cfm/area/information/page/Aboutus A summary of the GTCNI's activities.
http://www.gtcw.org.uk/about.html A summary of the GTCW's purpose and functions.