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The IfL deal and where next?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by 1961JohnG, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Following the negotiations with IfL, UCU have stated that it intends to ballot its members on whether to accept the deal with the IfL. This deal seems to amount to little more than an extension of the period covered by the £68 from 18 months to 2 ears. Implicitly there is an acceptance that the following year fees will again rise to £68. None of the issues around governance, 'democracy', accountability are addressed. No agreement that the CE / her deputy should seek election, despite bringing the IfL to the point of collapse [isn't that in contravention of the Code of Conduct?]. The reference to the so-called 'reference group' involving the TUs, AoC and IfL - with BiS called in as and when - is shrouded in meaningless management-speak. Pragmatically, I accept the value of an 'independent' professional body standing outside of each employing institution (indeed, I'd like to endorse such a body with enthusiasm!). But this bullsh*t is just irritating. BIS and the employers are not independent voices - BIS has a definite privatisation agenda, and the AoC - whilst there are clear tensions with BIS - protects the interests of senior college managements who long ago re-invented themselves as an entrepreneurial (largely at public expense) caste within the sector. In its ambitions to be 'all things to all' in the so-called 'skills sector', the IfL are irrelevant and will simply stand by as the real struggles over jobs, conditions, the defence of public education are played out. (If they won't resign, the CE and her deputy should be held under water until they admit 'we are irrelevant').


    Of course, if it goes to ballot - it could very well be rejected - which leaves UCU where?

    But where do we go with all this? Whilst I think most grassroots teachers are probably indifferent to the IfL except for the cost, a real issue around professionalism has emerged. Crudely - against the view that the IfL support a highly manageria(ised), bureaucratic and compliant kind of professionalism, there is this idea of 'democratic professionalism'. But what does this mean? As part of our struggle t defend jobs [etc.] should we developing this idea of 'demo. professionalism'? It's suggestive (of the revived college / community relationship, civic responsibility, peer support / development, genuine dialogue with students etc.) but it might just mean that teachers can be left alone to get on with it, without any real accountability?? Dunno.

    Be great if we could link up interested practitioners with researchers in the field (who I assume will be UCU members) to look at alternative forms of 'democratic' professionalism around which we can begin to mobilise. This would complement the trad. TU struggles by linking these in with pedagogy, practice and 'professional' identity. Counter-hegemonic is the term that comes to mind.

    Just a thought.
     
  2. Following the negotiations with IfL, UCU have stated that it intends to ballot its members on whether to accept the deal with the IfL. This deal seems to amount to little more than an extension of the period covered by the £68 from 18 months to 2 ears. Implicitly there is an acceptance that the following year fees will again rise to £68. None of the issues around governance, 'democracy', accountability are addressed. No agreement that the CE / her deputy should seek election, despite bringing the IfL to the point of collapse [isn't that in contravention of the Code of Conduct?]. The reference to the so-called 'reference group' involving the TUs, AoC and IfL - with BiS called in as and when - is shrouded in meaningless management-speak. Pragmatically, I accept the value of an 'independent' professional body standing outside of each employing institution (indeed, I'd like to endorse such a body with enthusiasm!). But this bullsh*t is just irritating. BIS and the employers are not independent voices - BIS has a definite privatisation agenda, and the AoC - whilst there are clear tensions with BIS - protects the interests of senior college managements who long ago re-invented themselves as an entrepreneurial (largely at public expense) caste within the sector. In its ambitions to be 'all things to all' in the so-called 'skills sector', the IfL are irrelevant and will simply stand by as the real struggles over jobs, conditions, the defence of public education are played out. (If they won't resign, the CE and her deputy should be held under water until they admit 'we are irrelevant').


    Of course, if it goes to ballot - it could very well be rejected - which leaves UCU where?

    But where do we go with all this? Whilst I think most grassroots teachers are probably indifferent to the IfL except for the cost, a real issue around professionalism has emerged. Crudely - against the view that the IfL support a highly manageria(ised), bureaucratic and compliant kind of professionalism, there is this idea of 'democratic professionalism'. But what does this mean? As part of our struggle t defend jobs [etc.] should we developing this idea of 'demo. professionalism'? It's suggestive (of the revived college / community relationship, civic responsibility, peer support / development, genuine dialogue with students etc.) but it might just mean that teachers can be left alone to get on with it, without any real accountability?? Dunno.

    Be great if we could link up interested practitioners with researchers in the field (who I assume will be UCU members) to look at alternative forms of 'democratic' professionalism around which we can begin to mobilise. This would complement the trad. TU struggles by linking these in with pedagogy, practice and 'professional' identity. Counter-hegemonic is the term that comes to mind.

    Just a thought.
     
  3. Isn't it just.
    If only the IfL had fullfilled this dream.
    Not sure that is legal or necessary. Apparently a wet towel has the same affect.
    You should meet my friend Insty. Sadly it was the UCU that set up the IfL.
    I'm a member of a vocationally specific professional organisation. Its not obligotory, the fees are much higher than IfL's, and I'm not sure how it's governed, but because it does such a good job and provides me with so many genuinely useful services and resources I don't mind. This is where IfL went wrong.
    .
    I for one just can't sleep for thinking about counter-hegemony.
     
  4. I have never understood why this is such a persuasive idea. I put it to you that it is precisely such a notion that has led to the quagmire in which we now find ourselves.
    Salaried executive staff are not usually elected, they are appointed (usually by those we have elected). That's how these things work. If the staff have brought an organisation to the point of collapse then it is the governors (elected by members) who would be charged with dispensing with their services. Not us.
    Has it? Not in my book. What precisely is this issue around professionalism?
    As for 'indifference', the foaming rants I have listened to suggest that grass root teachers are a little less serene than you might imagine.
    I see. And what exactly does democratic professionalism mean?
    Ah, I see again. And you accuse the IfL of being 'all things to all'?
    There was a bit of mobilisation going on already without such a heady notion. You mobilise around dem-prof if you want to. I wish you luck on that one.
    Not the term that immediately comes to my mind, I'm sorry to say, but I acknowledge your sincerity.
    I have a simpler idea. Don't pay.

     
  5. IFL say "tens of thousands have paid" the £68 IfL membership fee. This means as little as or 10% have paid (or at most only 45% - and some of that will have been paid by employers). Looks to me like the vast majority have already voted with their wallets.
    So much for the inaccurate, unrepresentative, outdated IfL membership surveys they keep spouting. This is the most representative test of membership satisfaction you can get and up to 90% are not satisfied. This Private Company, the IfL, are already finished. Nobody wants their product. It won't be long now till we're saying RIP IfL!
     
  6. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    If you are a UCU member vote against this nonsense when you receive your ballot paper.
     
  7. Why all the fuss over should we pay or not? We have been told by our vice principal that they have no way of checking who is a member and that Ofsted do not access this information either. So their advice to us was do not pay it - you do not need it to teach in FE.
     
  8. Your vice principal is completely wrong. The IfL can supply individual institutions with up to date information on the membership status of their teaching staff and whether they have declared their CPD for the current year. Indeed, the Institute offers to provide such a list if colleges want this information. Your VP is either misinformed or is deliberately turning a blind eye.
     

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