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Bullied into IfL membership?

FE news | Published in TES Newspaper on 28 November, 2008 | By: Alan Thomson

A warts-and-all picture of how staff view professional development across the education and skills sector is painted in the first survey of Institute for Learning members.

The survey, due to be published next week, reveals that 47 per cent of the 6,500 respondents - 5 per cent of IfL’s total membership - said they had joined because their employers required it. A small group felt they had been bullied or forced into joining.

IfL’s member survey 2008, carried out between June and August this year, found that many welcomed joining the institute for the professional development opportunities it provided and the benefits they would derive in terms of improved status.

All further education college staff are required to join IfL and to undertake 30 hours of continuing professional development a year. Those teaching in colleges from September 2007 must also gain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS) status through the IfL. Those teaching before then are encouraged to gain QTLS or ATLS.

One respondent is quoted as saying: “I sincerely hope that this is maintained and not watered down by extending membership to persons who could have, but have not bothered, to undertake necessary training.”

Another said: “I think that this (IfL) could be a great tool in order to advance our teachers, trainers and tutors into the next decade.”

Others felt they had been forced to join against their will. The survey quoted one respondent, described as typical of this group, as saying: “I feel bullied into being a member and totally resent the existence of this organisation.

“I really do not understand how a government-sponsored scheme whose membership exists as a result of threats to their continuing career progression can hope to usefully serve that membership.”

Respondents said the majority of staff in their institutions registered with the IfL because the college “persuaded them to do so without providing a satisfactory explanation of why they should do so”.

The IfL conceded that it needed to take responsibility for communication membership benefits rather than relying on employers in the sector. Benefits listed by IfL include an online learning space, workshops and e- newsletters. Members said IfL should campaign for pay parity between schools and colleges. They also want employers to take responsibility for providing and funding professional development for their staff.

Responding to the survey, Toni Fazaeli, who writes opposite, said: “It is about being bold and courageous and putting our members first. We have grown very quickly as an organisation and this survey has highlighted aspects of our service that clearly need further work from us.”


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Comment (22)

  • The IfL will have to pull something out of the bag if it is going to be taken seriously. Don't dare to start moving the goalposts re CPD requirement or membership requirement now that you're up and running. I think the people who thought about this IfL underestimated the strength of feeling in the sector and, since the sector is a real mish-mash overlooked we professionals who have always taken the sector seriously and gained the correct qualifications before we came into it. CPD of thirty hours a year is nothing for us. I regularly do a course a year in my own time. CPD will show up the people who are basically back-pedalling -and there are a great many in FE.

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    16:04
    1 December, 2008

    Jude Fawley

  • So many trainers are getting the PTLL just so that they join IfL and work on Government training schemes which is not what it is about, one 1st aid training company offers PTLL in a week and a further 4 days for the 1st aid award and bingo you are a bona-fide teacher.

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    21:09
    13 December, 2008

    chrisg0ufp

  • So many trainers are getting the PTLL just so that they can join the IfL and work on Government training schemes which is not what it is about, one 1st aid training company offers PTLL in a week and a further 4 days for the 1st aid award and bingo you are a bona-fide teacher.

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    21:10
    13 December, 2008

    chrisg0ufp

  • Oh they bullied us alright, but I for one have not given in to that. I have not joined and never will.

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    23:24
    6 June, 2009

    Dros

  • I joined. But know many of IfL's members face imminent redundancy and we have not heard a peep from our professional body.

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    15:14
    13 February, 2010

    Ruzor

  • It is a disgrace! I work for Norfolk Adult Education and they pay us at shameful rates and complain they do not have money! But they do have £60 per year per tutor to pay for the registration ( Norfolk has more than 400 tutors) . An on top we have to do the work for them all that professional development ....!!!!! It's so unfair, that Institution is useless it's just more money for some lazy executive while we tutors work for £400 a month and do 30 hours for free to please the IFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY????
    Get rid of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its is an useless institution

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    20:56
    7 August, 2010

    mihail40

  • Have you seen their 2010 brochure? How much many have they spent for the design and printing all that ? I thrown mine in the bin as soon as it arrived.
    They are spending money on all that while Adult Education courses are under threat of disappearing because of lack of funding...Adult Education in Norfolk is paying them a lot of money instead of putting money into their courses (that they keep closing every semester)
    Get rid!

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    21:00
    7 August, 2010

    mihail40

  • Have you seen their 2010 brochure? How much money have they spent for the design and printing all that ? I 've thrown mine in the bin as soon as it arrived.
    They are spending money on all that while Adult Education courses are under threat of disappearing because of lack of funding...Adult Education in Norfolk is paying them a lot of money instead of putting money into their courses (that they keep closing down every semester)
    Get rid!

    Unsuitable or offensive

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    21:01
    7 August, 2010

    mihail40

  • I cannot agree more that this is a quango of unprecendented ridiculousness. There are no benefits and the whole organisation should be scrapped. The government gets rid of the Nimrod and keeps this bureaucratic closed shop? IFL you are a disgrace to the profession.

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    19:56
    9 February, 2011

    davinci13

  • Sceptics who have sought in vain over some years for a concise and jargon-free explanation of what exactly is the point of the IfL will not be surprised to learn today that, as was always going to be the case, they now have to shell out real dosh for the privilege of their legally-obliged membership of the Institute.

    A cursory reading of the TES FE forum and conversations with colleagues reveal that there is widespread confusion about all sorts of matters including teaching qualifications, CPD requirements, the status of the IfL, parliamentary statute and so on. It only goes to show what a good job the stewarding body for our professionalism has been doing.

    Those of us in the Cinderella of the FE world, namely adult education, know that part-time tutors earn derisory amounts of money. Their conscientious endeavours, by and large, do not add to the sum of Britain’s global competitiveness, unless you count yoga, Tai Chi and keep fit classes, say, as generators of national wealth. But teachers of arts and crafts, languages, book clubs, family and local history, skills for life and so on, know that their efforts bring satisfaction, pleasure and wellbeing to hundreds of thousands of people. You might imagine that our guv'nors would acknowledge the contribution of these unsung toilers to the civic commonwealth but, predictably, politicians and careerists don’t think along the same lines as common folk. The last government, infamous for its punitive and overweening bossiness about all matters educational, decreed that teachers couldn’t be teachers, even if they had been working in the sector for all their working lives, unless they were forced to join a ‘professional organisation’ which would oversee the continuous development of its members.

    Those of us who managed to educate ourselves and keep up to date for long years without the imprimatur of the government and the Ifl feel pretty sour. Those of us teaching 20 hours a year who are now obliged to hand over £68 to keep hacks in jobs are a bit cross. Those of us who have worked out that as part-timers we probably earn about £2 an hour after we have taken into account planning lessons and schemes of work, gathering information and resources, setting up powerpoint presentations and other resources, monitoring and recording progress, writing reports, gathering data for our employers, preparing to meet the strictures for the ‘outstanding’ lessons that class visitors wish to see, and - nearly forgot - actually teaching, are a tad emotional. Those of us indifferent to the grandiose pretensions of the IfL will now have to pay for it, which puts a whole new perspective on things.

    Enough is enough! Where is the evidence that the IfL has raised our professional standing? Why are we legally obliged to be members? What advantages have been conferred on us through such membership?

    I shall spend tomorrow composing a letter to my local MP; the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable - who acknowledged the debt of his mother to adult education: bet her tutors weren't in the IfL); and the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning (Michael Hayes) conveying to them the fact that part-time tutors are now beginning to throw in the towel. I urge and beg you to do the same. The future of adult education is at stake. I have already been told by innumerable part-time colleagues that they will call it a day if they have to pay for a body which none of them wants. I also urge you simply not to pay. If thousands of people just don’t pay the fee then we may at last get somewhere.

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    20:37
    9 February, 2011

    cardoon

  • enough is enough!
    I have no intention of paying.
    I work in Skills for Life, trying to make a difference to ordinary peoples lives while the powers that be cancel creches and reduce my pay, to pay for their incompetence. If I lose my job after 20 years hard slog because I can no longer tolerate the ludicrous utterings of the IFL, who could not run a proverbial in a brewery, then so be it.
    Join me and do not pay them anything. What do they do with the money anyway? It certainly is not being put into their shambles of a website and I too throw anything from IFL straight in the bin.

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    21:50
    9 February, 2011

    mandymaths2

  • I didn't mind when the college i work for paid, but there is NO WAY I am paying out of my own pocket to be a member of a non entity organisation! I had a letter telling me today that I will have to pay £68 this year out of my own pocket, and as I work 4hrs a week (this is what the FE college I work for has given me) I cannot afford to pay this fee! That is why as of March this year I will no longer be a member of IFL! The letter then goes on to state it is mandatory for me to be a member! We need to organise a petition against this sort of bureaucratic bullying!

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    15:06
    10 February, 2011

    Marushka 123

  • Well said that man. This is unprecendented madness, that an organisation can simply demand monies for services rendered. Beware all they'll be tarmacing our car parks next and demanding a 2000% inflated fee. YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE A SERVICE BEFORE YOU CAN DEMAND PAYMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    17:16
    10 February, 2011

    davinci13

  • Oh and while we are on the subject I wuld like to propose NIACE as an ambassador for the teaching profession. Now there's an organisation that commands respect. Two thirds more letters in its acronym too.

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    17:18
    10 February, 2011

    davinci13

  • You are very quiet IFL? No defence?

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    17:22
    10 February, 2011

    davinci13

  • Like most of the above comments, this is bullying and is probably against our human rights should we wish to pursue this avenue. You cannot force a workforce to belong to an organisation and expect them to pay for the privilege! I am part time and just cannot afford this fee. I am involved with several networks and professional bodies and complete many more hours than required in terms of CPD I simply do not need this pseudo professional body they are of no use to me, I will not be paying.

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    12:38
    11 February, 2011

    JohnnyT10

  • Like everyone else on this forum, I absolutely refuse to pay a membership fee to an organisation which is no use to me whatsoever. I didn't want to join in the first place, but did so to keep the employer quiet, but since then I too have thrown all IFL correspondence and useless magazines into the bin, and never read their pointless e mails either. It is an insult to professional teachers everywhere, so let's support our profession, and unite in a refusal to pay

    IFL are about as much use as the HIP pack - let's make sure it is sent to the same place!

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    16:28
    12 February, 2011

    tranquilessence

  • I have been involved with FE for more than 10 years now, and nothing has changed. The IFL is just legalised racketeering and perhaps if we saw something for the £68, we would not mind paying.
    The CPD is a waste of time, as yet again the onus is on saying what we have done (paper work), not the training we actually need. The only reason my institution supports the IFL is because it does not cost them money.

    Facts:-
    1. We have been bullied into joining
    2. We are now being bullied into paying to join.
    3. Nobody minds jumping through hoops, but being asked to pay for the privilege is a joke.

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    14:25
    14 February, 2011

    scientificwaffle

  • I too profoundly resent the recent letter with its bullying and dictatorial tone. It is little more than demanding money with menaces and this development should be resisted.

    I have been working in adult education since the 1970s without any need for the IfL which, so far as I can see serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

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    22:31
    16 February, 2011

    Yachtmaster

  • It is now time for the spotlight to be firmly fixated on the IFL. This body of ineptness needs some high profile investigative journalism to roll this quangoed turtle onto it's back and let the harsh daylight onto its soft belly bringing down the final curtain. How poetic is that? I am Duncan Judd

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    15:13
    21 February, 2011

    davinci13

  • I'm another part-timer with no guarantee of any work from September. Yet I am expected to pay £68 for the possibility of work next year ... or maybe just to get my P45. It's blackmail ... and you should never pay a blackmailer. (I won't.)

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    10:09
    11 March, 2011

    JoBo51

  • Why is it that those that set out to undermine and devalue are too idle to check their facts before bleeting?
    1. £68 is the fee for 18 months membership, not 12 months.
    2. There are concessionary fees for those in part time/hourly paid - do a bit of research by visiting the IfL website.
    Once you have your facts right perhaps others may listen to your constructive arguments.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    22:01
    28 March, 2011

    DSAT

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