When is a quango not a quango? When it's the Institute for Learning, apparently. At least that's the impression you'll get if you believe last week's press release from Toni Fazaeli, the IfL's Chief Executive, in which she distanced her organization from the late, unlamented GTC with the bold assertion that, unlike the GTC, the IfL is "not a quango". Silly me. Here am I, writing about the IfL in the present tense. In fact, the government announced in the same week that it announced the abolition of the GTC that it planned to abolish the IfL too, along with LearnDirect and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service. Funny, then, that the day after this story was made public ('Adult Education 'Saved My Mother'', BBC News, 3rd June, 2010) Toni Fazaeli was still declaring from within the IfL bunker that 'IfL is directly serving frontline teachers and trainers.' Poor Toni! Seems like they abolished her organization under her nose and she didn't even notice! I can't say I'm sorry to see the the IfL go. Can anybody honestly say that they are? I can only write from my own experience - as an ex-member way before the plug was pulled - and I have to say that what I received from that organization in terms of 'Benefits', 'Status' and 'Voice' (as my now shredded membership card proudly proclaimed) was zilch, nada and zero. In fact, I got less than nothing. Pressure of work meant that I was unable to complete my online declaration of 30 hours CPD before the IfL's last deadline. As a result, I received a letter telling me that this fact was to be entered on my membership record, and that although the Registrar had "decided not to refer the matter to the Investigating Committee" (Phew!), my failure to declare could "be disclosed to an IfL Investigating Committee in future if such a Committee were required to investigate an alleged breach of the Code of Professional Practice". "We do not want you to be in a position next year" they wrote "where you might be in breach of the Code of Professional Practice". You could have fooled me. But wait. There's more. Only last week, having failed to renew my membership - as if I would - I received a letter headed, nonsensically, 'Your membership is now overdue'. How could my 'membership' be 'overdue' if I was a member already?! I chuckled: here they are, I thought, claiming to represent my professional interests and they can't even write. But there was still more! Failure to renew my membership would mean that "IfL will advise your employer so that they (sic) are aware that you are no longer a member'. It was like a cold hand squeezing my heart. In fact, I decided to pre-empt this by telling the Principal myself. She can't wait to read the letter, she says. Of course, she'll never get to do that now. At the very moment the IfL was devising that last nasty little gobbet the end was fast approaching. And whilst I would have been happy to continue to disregard those threatening, bullying, spiteful and increasingly desperate little missives ad infinitum, I was struck by how the very tone they adopted was one that I, as a professional, would be rightly called to account for if I adopted it toward my students or colleagues. I doubt the IfL would appreciate the irony. But I know now that it does hypocrisy. In spades. Or at least, it did. So farewell IfL. And to think you were going to become self-funded by 2011. We'd have all had to pay to be whipped: or, at least, to jump through yet another series of hoops that none of us want or need. I can't say it's been a pleasure but at least it's goodbye forever and you'll not be missed. I guess the only thing now is for the last IfL member to please turn out the lights. Oh, and can somebody tell Toni? I think she should know. The tanks are on the lawn and your quango is no more.