Thousands of further education lecturers in England risk losing their licences to practise by failing to register their continuing professional development records for last year, it has emerged.
In England, as in Scotland, lecturers are expected to do 30 hours of CPD, or equivalent, a year. But there it is a requirement, as they are licensed. Out of 188,00 eligible Institute for Learning members, 110,000 have registered details of how they completed their mandatory 30 hours. Deadline was August 31.
The professional body is offering an extended period of grace to the 78,000-odd members yet to declare their CPD. It says it will take an "encouraging and supportive" approach until around the turn of the year.
Thereafter, the institute is likely to get tough and, ultimately, it can revoke people's IfL membership. All FE and skills teachers must be registered with IfL if they work in provision funded by the Learning and Skills Council.
Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of the IfL, said: "We hoped to see 70 per cent of members declaring their CPD by now, but teachers and trainers have been slower to respond than we anticipated. We expected initial reservation and maybe opposition. But our approach is that we trust individuals to report their CPD."
Ms Fazaeli said the IfL was in discussion with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which funds the institute, on the appropriate sanctions for members who fail to comply. "At this stage, it is about encouragement if there is a problem," she said. "Thereafter, we would adopt a stronger line."
This is the first full year operating under the new rules of compulsory CPD. To retain their licences to practise, staff must complete at least 30 hours, or pro rata if part-time, each year, and declare their CPD to the institute. In Scotland, they are merely recommended to do 30 hours under the RoSCO report (Review of Scotland's Colleges, 2007).
"It's the first time individual teachers and trainers have had to declare CPD, so it's a cultural shift of some significance," she added.
The institute does not check every declaration to make sure staff have done what they said they did and to make sure it was relevant. Instead, it is reviewing a sample of just over 1,000 member declarations.
The review process uses three criteria: sufficiency, which refers to the required number of hours and the adequacy of evidence provided; relevance, which refers to whether or not CPD is relevant to the individual's job and the sector; and authenticity - the quality of the supporting evidence, evidence of peer review and dialogue and collaboration.
Details of the shortfall in declarations emerged in the institute's Impact Review, published earlier this month. It also revealed that nine out of 10 teachers in FE in England think the institute is delivering the goods as a professional body. Last year's inaugural survey was less flattering - it revealed that many respondents had felt bullied by managers into joining the IfL.
"Could it not just be that 78,000 intelligent people don't have the time to fathom out how to use the Reflect tool?"
"The enforced membership of the IfL - with its threats and demands, policies, rules and regulations, and dreadful software - has become part of the problem."
"I'm sure the IfL would rather have 25,000 voluntary members paying the pound;125 professional body membership should cost, rather than 150,000 whingers."
"It has been set up with the 2007 regulations and follows the government line rather than being an independent body."