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IfL's fee hike bid undermined as survey shows lack of confidence

FE news | Published in TES Newspaper on 18 February, 2011 | By: Joseph Lee

A survey of union members has revealed a widespread lack of confidence in the Institute for Learning (IfL) as it tries to more than double its fees for lecturers.

The University and College Union (UCU) found nearly two-thirds of more than 900 surveyed lecturers supported the concept of a professional body, but less than 20 per cent believed the IfL was doing a good job.

The survey - carried out before the IfL announced its plan to become self- funding by charging each member £68 a year for the registration required by law to teach in colleges (FE Focus, 11 February) - also showed that 84 per cent were not willing to pay for its services.

One member told the survey: “While I would gladly subscribe to a professional body that developed organically by members of the profession and not in some government office, I would strongly resent having to pay anything to prop up an organisation whose only role seems to be to regulate and police us.”

The UCU survey contradicts the institute’s own research on members’ views, which last year found that 70 per cent were “in principle” prepared to pay for professional registration. The union concedes that it and other unions constitute only 60,000 of the 200,000 registered FE teachers but says they represent an “organised minority”.

The survey also revealed that more than 80 per cent of lecturers now have employment contracts requiring them to be members of the IfL, which could mean that a boycott in response to the fee hike puts jobs at risk.

IfL chief executive Toni Fazaeli said: “IfL clearly needs to trumpet much more - it is disappointing that many of the respondents seem not to be well informed about IfL’s work. This small survey of some UCU members indicates pretty strong support for the concept of a professional body, and suggested roles for it, all of which IfL does indeed carry out.”

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Comment (13)

  • I am afraid the IfL will have to trumpet very very loudly indeed. Lecturers at the college I work for have shown no enthusiasm for IfL at all. I think IfL really needs to show some realism about how it is considered by the lecturing profession. If the IfL really is valued and valuable, lecturers will pay voluntarily.

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    18 February, 2011


  • The fact is that this ludicrous body offers next to nothing by way of "benefits"; every aspect of it is pathetic and weak, the flimsy "journal", the feeble CPD website, the st_IfL_ing of comments from members. It's an irrelevant organisation whose only strength is to demand money with menaces.
    As the time of writing (18.2.2011) more than 11,000 lecturers and teachers have signed the UCU petition. I challenge the IfL to make membership we all know this facile little group would simply wither on the vine and perish. Deservedly so.
    I challenge them too to publish their accounts and tell us just how they propose to spend the £13 million plus that their fees would raise. Self- aggrandising and self-serving....colleagues please wave goodbye to the IfL.

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    18 February, 2011


  • I'd leave the trumpet at home if I was IFL! I'm not paying and my staff are not paying for what is... an absolute waste of space! I already belong to vocational prof. bodies but these have evolved from the grass roots without too many 'demands' or the kind of 'it's compulsory' etc comments that have been circled around Fe for too long now. The new coalition govt could have made one real popular cutting exercise and done away with this 'institute' and let the lecturers 'grow their own' from the ground up if they so desired.

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    21 February, 2011


  • I am a tutor in adult education. We are paid on a casual, hourly paid basis, often earning only a few hundred pounds per year. If a course fails to run, we receive no income at all. I can't think of anyone who would pay £68 in this situation. If the fee is enforced, adult education will simply die.

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    22 February, 2011


  • This QUANGO should have disappeared in the cull. Why should we pay to record what we do? It's bad enough doing the job, without having to write about it afterwards. I do that as a 'reflective lecturer'.............

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    23 February, 2011


  • why on earth should we be expected to pay for the right to educate learners and students. This closed shop quango needs to be shut down. All stand together and not pay this self agrandising none entity to boast about its mediocraty.

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    24 February, 2011


  • The IfL lacks substance and I cannot see the benefit for teachers and lecturers. The flimsy, facile CPD requirements are laughable. I was told, "Reading a book every now and then is fine" by someone ticking a box on a form ... I was tempted to say, "Would a magazine article do?"

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    24 February, 2011


  • Actually blueskies, yes, reading a magazine article would be, so would visiting an art gallery or a museum with your family. Indeed reading the TES and contributing to this forum could all go down as your CPD.
    IfL - You are a pointless organisation, to prove that qualified professionals are indeed professionals. It is strange that no such proof is needed any more for school teachers. IfL - where are you fighting for us...on pensions, cuts, casualisation? IfL - you were not set up by lecturers and trainers, you were set up as a statutory body by a centralising labour government - a government made up of amateurs who need no professional qualifications at all to create laws, policies and institutions such as the IfL.

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    25 February, 2011


  • l

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    20 March, 2011


  • I work for a private company teaching numeracy to young adults aspart of the Skills or Life contract. My employers have said they will terminate my employment if I don't pay the IFL fees. They have also given the same ultimatum to our receptionist/admin' girl because, even though she does not teach, she has " some contact " with our learners.
    We feel utterley helpless.

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    20 March, 2011


  • mrwerdnag, contact your union, or if you are not in one, the CAB or a law centre. Also advise the receptionist to do likewise. Your employer may well already have set itself on a collision course with employment legislation. Get yourself some legal advice - and fast!

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    20 March, 2011


  • 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.
    3. Having some contact with students is not a formal requirement for membership - ask any bus driver.

    Once you have your facts right perhaps others may listen to your constructive arguments.

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    28 March, 2011


  • @DSAT

    1. £68 is the fee for 12months, which is being extended to 18months this year due to transitionary funding being made available. It's still £68 a year. you can go on all you like about it being 18months for now, but come next year, it will still be £68 for the year, or perhaps more.

    2. The concessionary fees are not specifically for part time hourly paid - they are for people who earn under the tax threshold - there is a big difference and will mean the we get less people from industry who want to do a little lecturing on the side.

    3. You might not need to have contact with students to be a memeber, but you can't be forced to be a member unless you are a teacher/lecturer.

    Perhaps if you complain about other people getting their facts right, you should have your right first.

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    31 March, 2011


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