Statement from the Education Minister on the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland

Date published: 13 December 2021

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen today made a statement to the Assembly outlining her decision to dissolve the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

Statement to the Assembly

Following an independent Effectiveness Review which has revealed systemic failures and a breakdown of working relationships within the Council, the Minister announced she will bring forward the necessary legislation as soon as possible and has decided to stand down the current GTCNI Council and its Committees with immediate effect.

Speaking in the Assembly, Michelle McIlveen said: 

“GTCNI has not fulfilled its responsibilities and been the voice for the teaching profession that it was intended to be.

“The report presented to the Department, reflects an NDPB in organisational failure, with a majority of its members acknowledging that it is failing.

“I am clear, and legal advice has confirmed, that I would be failing in my responsibilities as Minister of Education if I did not take rapid and decisive action, having received such a stark indictment of the Council and its leadership.”

The Department of Education will now bring forward a public consultation exercise to identify which of the Council’s functions are critical to the wider education system and must be preserved.  In addition, the consultation will seek views from the public, the teaching profession and key educational stakeholders on how these can be delivered efficiently and effectively.

This consultation will inform the drafting of the legislation needed to dissolve the Council while putting in place alternative mechanisms to protect those key functions.

Concluding, the Minister said: 

‘‘It is essential that suitably qualified individuals wishing to teach here do not face any unnecessary barriers or delays in entering our workforce, particularly given the current pressures facing schools.

“Arrangements are already being put in place to ensure GTCNI registration, a legal requirement for all NI teachers, continues without interruption.”


Notes to editors: 

1. A copy of the Minister’s statement is available here: Ministerial Statement 13 December 2021

2. GTCNI was established in 2002 to enhance the status of teaching and promote the highest standards of professional conduct and practice. Under its founding legislation, its functions are to establish and maintain a register of teachers; approve qualifications for the purposes of registration; regulate teachers in relation to serious professional misconduct; and provide advice to the Department and employing authorities on registration; the training, career development and performance management of teachers; standards of teaching; and standards of conduct for teachers.

3. GTCNI is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) of the Department, a status reflecting the intention that, as the regulator for the teaching profession here, it should have a distinct identity and independence from DE, strengthening its ability to speak freely on behalf of all teachers.

4. An Executive Summary of the report is available on the Department's website - GTCNI Board Effectiveness Review - Executive Summary Report

5. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni (external link opens in a new window / tab)(external link opens in a new window / tab)(external link opens in a new window / tab)

6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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