Thousands of further education teachers risk losing their licences to practice by failing to register their continuing professional development (CPD) records for last year, it emerged this week.
Around 110,000 out of 188,000 eligible Institute for Learning (IfL) members - 59 per cent - have so far registered details of how they completed their mandatory 30 hours of professional development. The deadline was August 31.
The IfL is offering an extended period of grace to the 78,000 or so members who are yet to declare their CPD. The organisation says it will take an "encouraging and supportive" approach until around the turn of the year.
But thereafter the institute is likely to get tough with those still to declare and, ultimately, it can revoke people's IfL membership. All further education 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 that 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."
It is the first full year operating under the new rules of compulsory CPD. In order to retain their licences to practice staff must complete at least 30 hours, or pro rata if part-time, of professional development each year. Staff must then declare their CPD to the institute.
"It is the first time that individual teachers and trainers have had to declare their CPD, so it is a cultural shift of some significance," Ms Fazaeli said. "It takes time to feel comfortable with the arrangements."
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 CPD hours and the adequacy of evidence provided; relevance, which refers to whether or not the CPD is relevant to the individual's job and the sector; and authenticity, which refers to 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, which was published this week. It also revealed that nine out of 10 teachers in FE think that the institute is delivering the goods as a professional body.
The 90 per cent satisfaction rating is released ahead of the full member survey, published later this month. Last year's inaugural survey was less than flattering as it revealed that many respondents had felt bullied by managers into joining the IfL.
The institute is still accepting CPD declarations. Members can log in and complete online forms at www.ifl.ac.uk or contact IfL's Membership Team on 0844 815 3202.
"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."