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Institute for Learning - A Tribute

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Mistermandolin, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. Agreed. This is their real downfall. It would have been better for them if they had been more honest and realistic about their achievements and talked about Benefits and Status as aspirations rather than realities. But to have claimed so much and delivered so little - it's not the way to win friends and influence people, particularly people who by the nature of their vocation have a heightened ability to smell any B.S..
    However I wouldn't be so sure of that. I'd wait to hear the weight challenged person sing and then see who, or what, walks on to replace them.
     
  4. Me too!
    The chances of all 'governing' bodies disappearing in a trice is not something you could realistically expect! Governments of all ilks love control and red tape for their own sake!
    But the IfL did absolutely jack for me. The 'benefits', cpd etc etc were all excruciatingly London-centric and, like most people, I don't live there, or indeed wish to visit!
    Software etc might have been useful 3 or 4 years ago, might even get me a discount on my Windows 7 upgrade - but 30% of £50 isn't too exciting is it?

    And have you seen the OU courses? Ha!

    Nope! I shall not miss it - but I doubt I shall have time before it is re-branded and re-launched a la Emperor's New Clothes!
     
  5. Oh, Mistermandolin, can this good news you impart really be true? I have just come across your posting and feel quite faint with anticipation. And there I was thinking my campaign for the abolition of the IfL was a lonely furrow I had to tread all by myself. But, lo, I find a merry troop of liberation fighters, ably commanded by yourself, gently cheering the downfall of a big bad wolf.
    But, Mistermandolin, I am a little nervous that you may have jumped the gun. The wolf's website is still there, urging us to declare our CPD and even offering us the chance to vote, in the customary manner of its incarnation as the body that speaks for its members (a vote on how one will declare one's CPD: online in My Pages or using REFLECT - truly, a generously-endowed opportunity to speak one's voice). But I see no published sign of its imminent demise. Could you provide a bit of hard evidence that it will go? The BBC news item is a little too ambiguous for my liking:
    "A string of quangos, at least partly funded by Mr Cable's department, are being axed, phased out or are having their budgets reduced.
    A departmental spokesman said these included LearnDirect, the Institute for Learning, the Learning and Skills Improvement Service."
    A reduced budget, rather than an axing, would be a very disappointing outcome to this glimpse of a promised land and the one least favoured by your fellow freedom fighters. The only way to make up the lost funds, thus ensuring the continued hefty remuneration for those top executives, would be to chivvy its members to stump up the membership fee. If that is the case, I think I might go for your option, Mr M, and see what happens. It might be a challenge for my employer to know what to do, as well. He's not half as understanding as your gaffer seems to be.
    I await confirmation from you that all is well and that we can, with conviction, say farewell to Toni and Lee.


     
  6. Oh look, another 'new' poster





    **yawns**
    [​IMG]
     
  7. You can't beat an unmoderated anonymous forum can you.....
     
  8. I don't know why 'new' is surrounded by inverted commas. I am indeed new. I have never posted on this forum before. Perhaps an unmoderated anonymous forum is the only way one can 'speak one's voice', given that the IfL doesn't have a blog where people can post and given that we are all legally enforced to be members.
     
  9. cardoon - it's true. The Ifl is no more. Our band of freedom fighters is triumphant. In fact: it gets better and better. Wait until you see what the blessed coalition is set to replace it with! Watch This Space, in other words...
    cheflecturer - why so cynical? Join us. On the other hand: if you don't like unmoderated anonymous forums, why post here? You know the old saying: 'If you don't like the heat...'
     
  10. What inside knowledge do you have, Mr M? If things can only get better, I'd love a preview. I suppose I shall just have to Watch This Space but I wish you could be a little more specific.
     
  11. cariadwch

    cariadwch Occasional commenter

    Where's the confirmation of that?
     
  12. Nothing worse than watching one person talk to themselves, is there?

    Such a shame, the TES forum could be a brilliant resource for teachers - if only teachers used it.
     
  13. I checked out the IfL website just in case it really was 'gone' but it would appear to be the case that it's still very much with us.
    So, I guess we'll all have to declare our CPD (I'm going for the quick declaration because Reflect is still doing my head in). I could grumble about that for ages but I'd only be repeating what I've said before and what other people say!

    I have to say, cheflecturer, that I somewhat share your frustration at this particular forum being quiet. As you say, such a shame but I suspect it's because us FE bods are so overworked we haven't got time to post on here[​IMG].
     
  14. If the IFL has gone - Yippie! Just made my day. However, it appears that they are no better at saying goodbye than they were at operating? Thinks - wonder what happens now to all of the fees collected?
    The prospect of an imposed alternative fills me with dismay. Surely, as these posts have shown, there is no resistance to the concept of establishing a professional body but such a body MUST carry the support and faith of all who are members and be able to attract new members as a result of their committment to the genuine needs and concerns of the profession - free of any political involvement, democratic and open in its dealings.
    poemeelectronique - you have a valid point about getting time to read and post. Some of my own read badly due to a lack of time to construct clearly formed arguments, often at 10 -11pm. However, there are still likely to be more posts when:
    A, Those posting are not subject to petty personal attack as a way of distracting / detracting from points made in good faith. The diluted / extended argument is just not worth the effort.
    B. Posts from certain "names" cover many threads and topics, often displaying a knowledge of subjects way beyond the range of ordinary FE lecturers in my experience and suggesting, rightly or wrongly, that the forum is being "seeded" by those who could not possibly teach full time and thus have time to post or by individuals with a journalistic leaning or other vested interest.
    Perhaps, if we are really intending to demonstrate professionalism it should begin in areas such as this forum.
    Good night all.

     
  15. Don't you just love the way the way that word 'professionalism' gets bandied about?! It's bad enough the way that it's used as a weapon every time somebody wants to make yet another excessive demand on our energy, resources and time, without us 'FE Bods' (love that, winlinuser!) wielding it around on here. Next thing you know we'll all be sitting around a campfire shaven-headed and dressed in orange robes chanting it back and forth like a mantra. In fact, I'm surprised the Ifl didn't make that compulsory along with the online declaration.
    Ah...sometimes I miss my membership. From time to time I revisit the site, just for old times' sake. (By the way: it's easy to leave - just send them a letter and tell them to shove it. You don't need to declare your CPD then. Actually, you don't need to anyway - see the start of this thread). Is it just me or has anyone else been struck by the banality of that site? I especially like the little box for voting how you'll going to declare your CPD - the sort of thing you'd use to entertain a five year-old on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Looks like somebody's being paid way too much and has far too much time on their hands. And it sure ain't me...
     
  16. Ah, that's what is called in the trade "member voice."
     
  17. Thanks for the clarification, cardoon. Nice to see that the public's money is/was being put to such good use...
    Great to see the debate on this thread gathering momentum too - particularly as the government's decision as to its replacement for the IfL is now imminent. Stand by.
     
  18. Mistermandolin, I'm new on here but have been following these threads avidly for a while now. I don't want to doubt what you say as you're obviously "in the know", but can I please ask where you are getting your information from? It seems to me that the IfL is stil very much up and running.......
     
  19. I've had a scout round the NIACE website, which reports on its annual jamboree at the Houses of Parliament, and at its link to the latest announcements from the new FE & Lifelong Learning Minister, John Hayes, and, whilst there is some very pleasing news contained therein, of the end of the IfL there is no word. How imminent is imminent, Mistermandolin?
     
  20. moonpenny

    moonpenny New commenter

    I've had to cobble together my 30 hours this year.
    There are lots of good courses I would love to do and which would be really useful and are organised by the professional body I belong to. However, there is no money to fund this so it isn't even worth asking. I would love to do the final part of my postgrad too but I wouldn't get funding for that either.

     

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