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FE has professional identity and status thanks to IfL

Is Graham Fowler ("It's a hold-up! So let's banish the Institute for Learning for good", FE Focus, 15 July) really suggesting that further education must derive its professional identity and status from universities?

If so, then is Mr Fowler also suggesting that further education teachers and trainers occupy a place in some education pecking order?

Apparently not, as back in 2005 Mr Fowler concluded an article in FE Focus with: ". distinctiveness is one of FE's major strengths. It could be the basis for forming a confident and unified identity for FE."

Indeed, but ceding control of further education's professional identity to higher education, or any other body not directly representative of teachers and trainers, is no answer.

Confidence and identity must be fashioned and owned by further education through an independent professional body. We have that body already and it is called the Institute for Learning.

That Mr Fowler also dismisses the historic recognition of QTS-QTLS parity is puzzling because this achievement is clearly a necessary and long overdue first step rather than the underwhelming end of a journey that Mr Fowler describes.

Unfortunately for one who has previously championed further education, Mr Fowler's latest article serves more to undermine the confidence and identity of the many tens of thousands of teachers and trainers who have already joined IfL.

Sue Crowley (chair), John Chorley (president), Rania Hafez, Govind Bharadia, Jacki Hughes, Michael Smith, Margot Skelton, Ed Sallis and Anne Brookes (elected members of IfL's non-executive board), Institute for Learning.

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