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FE news | Published in TES magazine on 24 February, 2012

Dough! The Sandwich World Cup escapes us

Well done to Brooklands College bakery student Emily Smith, who last week became the youngest competitor in Delifrance's ninth Sandwich World Cup. Wait, what? There's a Sandwich World Cup?

Even more surprising is that the competition was held at the Paris School of Bakery and Pastry. Messieurs, you may know how to whip up a macaroon but any fool knows that the French are clueless when it comes to the art of the sandwich. L'Academie Francaise hasn't even got around to coming up with a word for it, centuries after the fourth earl, John Montagu, felt peckish. Sadly, among these philistines, 18-year-old Emily wasn't able to place in the top three with her peppered beef sandwich with kale, bitter greens and a caper and gherkin sauce. Perhaps just like in the football World Cup, the English can only win at home.

UCU and IfL take aim... at each other

What did you do in the FE professionalisation wars, granddad? It's a question that will captivate future generations.

The sniping between the University and College Union and the Institute for Learning continues over compulsory, paid-for membership of the professional body.

In a previous episode, the former deputy chief executive of the IfL, Lee Davies, criticised UCU's survey, which the union used to support its claim that the mandatory professional body should be scrapped. Mr Davies had a point, since he had been able to register and complete the survey despite not being a member of UCU. Polling members in this slapdash way undermined the union as a democratic voice, especially given a low response rate, he pointed out.

But UCU is not taking this lying down. One member turned the tables, questioning how democratic the IfL's advisory council is. Could he please see the voting figures for the newly elected members? Er, no. "It is not our practice to release voting data," he was told, not even the turnout. Even Saddam Hussein used to make something up for the punters to pore over on election night.

See Sally Hunt's column, page 54.

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Comment (2)

  • IfL did historically publish election detail (turnout, percentages for candidates etc) - I recall turnout was low, but so in fairness often are trade union election turnouts. Hardly surprising that IfL is again making a catestrophically ham-fisted attempt at democracy. FErret is wrong to suggest the current professionalisation war is between UCU & IfL though. The number of ex IfL members who are refusing to pay is higher than UCU's entire FE membership. ATL members are equally disgruntled (not least with their leadership cozying up to IfL over mandatory membership). Even the new AoC leadership has made it clear (in TES) that IfL lacks credibility. Really it is a war over alternative visions of professionalism (managerial & democratic), & IfL have already lost.

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    27 February, 2012


  • This is indeed the first time to my knowledge IfL have refused to publish election figures, an unusual tactic from any ‘democratic’ organisation to say the least.

    Be that as it may, this battle is not just between UCU and IfL. Over 100,000 FE sector professionals, many of whom are not even in a union, are still boycotting IfL and that’s much more than the total UCU membership within the sector.

    To add to this there is also evidence of a rebellion from within, through mass non-conformity. It has recently came to light that more than 35,000 of IfL’s existing 85,000 members, a large number of whom were forced to join, haven’t declared their 30 hours Statutory CPD (Declaring CPD is now a legal requirement, giving IfL the ultimate sanction of expulsion for non-compliance).

    It’s no wonder IfL have so far failed to apply sanctions to those who didn't declare CPD, as indeed they could have done with those who Boycotted the membership fees, as this would leave them with a total membership of around 50,000 - finally showing them up for what they are; incompetent, ineffectual and unloved, not only by UCU but by the majority of FE professionals.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    29 February, 2012


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