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IfL deals with just 16 complaints in first year

Just sixteen complaints about teachers in further education have been received by the Institute for Learning (IfL) in its first year of compulsory membership

Just sixteen complaints about teachers in further education have been received by the Institute for Learning (IfL) in its first year of compulsory membership

The professional body for FE lecturers has not yet held its first disciplinary hearing, at which it has the power to ban teachers from working in colleges or on other publicly funded provision.

But three cases have so far gone forward to the investigation committee, the first stage in the process. Hearings which find that members have breached the code of conduct can impose a reprimand, a conditional registration order, a suspension order or an expulsion order.

The IfL will not release details of complaints unless a case to answer has been found, and then only 28 days before the hearing.

A spokeswoman said the complaints had come from a variety of sources, and the lack of hearings so far was just a product of the time needed to investigate them properly.

She said: "Our procedures follow best practice in allowing sufficient time for thorough investigation, preparation of material for a hearing in conjunction with the member concerned, and time for reflection for the member."

The delay is similar elsewhere: the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), which regulates schoolteachers, took about 18 months before its first hearings. But the caseload is likely to grow: the GTC now hears about 15 cases a month.

Barry Lovejoy, head of further education at the University and College Union, said none of his members had been involved in the complaints and the union did not object to the disciplinary process.

But, he said: "Most things should be dealt with at a college level - we would be concerned if too many cases were referred to IfL."

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