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The IfL: why should we keep it in business?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Marley811, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. knobbystiles

    knobbystiles New commenter

    I am an FE College lecturer who has had Qualified Teacher Status for 15 years.

    To claim that the IfL 'confers' professional status is utter nonsense.

    To quote Barack Obama, "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig"
  2. Quite agree. IfL is a complete waste of time and money. All lecturers should boycott this payment. In such difficult financial times it is sickening for something that has little credibility to expect people to part with hard earned cash. Don't pay!
  3. Lee Davies has a plumbing background. I wonder if Simon is a friend of his.
  4. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Don't send any money to the IfL.
    They can do nothing.
    They are a spent force.
    Their existence does nothing but insult the professional lecturer.
    It's laughable what they claim they do for F E professionals.
    They do nothing for the organised and dedicated F E lecturer.
    If you can't get your act together and apply the training you received at teacher training college then side with these numpties.
    The IfL insult all teacher training colleges by saying they send out lecturers who aren't professional.
    Decide: Are you correctly trained? Do you know your subject i.e. love it to the point where you keep up to date on current praxis?
    You're either a proper F E lecturer or you're not. If you're not you need to go away and get correctly trained. Stop working, get trained and then start working again.
    Don't come into F E without the correct qualifications. By doing that you encourage illnesses like the IfL.

  5. The IfL is an absolute disgrace. I want nothing to do with them, I get
    NO benefits whatsoever from being a member and now they are demanding
    that I pay for the 'benefit'. This is morally wrong and the IfL are
    morally bankrupt in demanding this payment.

    I was under the impression that 'closed shops' were a thing of the
    past and I cannot believe the government are allowing this to happen.

    We have seen in recent days and hours, in Egypt that a government
    can be overthrown by direct action, using the internet as a medium, and I
    hope teachers the length and breadth of the country will follow the
    lead of our Egyptian brothers and sisters and oppose such a demand from a
    body we are mandated to be a member of.
  6. Some good replies to my provocative post, which was meant to give you some idea of what the situation looks like from the outside looking in. From the replies, I get the feeling that IfL is a closed shop - but has anyone tried to join the consulting groups in IfL? I have experienced the same in the plumbing industry with Gas Safe, as pointed out, and with the sector skills council groups which are 'invitation only' so I can understand the notion of closed shop - they do exist. In my own favour, I have tried to join closed shop groups in the plumbing industry for the past five years or so, but no chance! so much for the industry-led approach.
    Coming back to the situation of IfL, what are we to do?
    Well, in plumbing, a group of passionate professionals developed their own on-line forum for gas and plumbing professionals (Association of registered gas installers [ARGI] and Organisation for Professional Gas Operatives [OPGO]). Both these organisations were set up by ordinary professionals who come together to talk shop and share knowledge - both groups now have representation on the gas industry liaison group (GILG). In the plumbing industry we are fighting back and challenging the status quo, where there is opression, through collective action.
    If the feeling amongst teachers is widespread in terms of opposition toward IfL, then you will do well to get some collective spirit going. Set up a forum, and organise your opposition.
  7. That is so untrue as to be almost a deliberate falsehood. Even I know IfL was created largely out of Natfhe over ten years ago. I can read the history and this is clearly true. It was created by teachers in reaction to a lack of an equivalent to the GTC or HEA, both of which were created by government.
    If ordinary members get no say in its running, why was someone in my college, an 'ordinary teacher' (your language) elected to its Council. An election which we were all able to vote in.
    Either you are lying or simply ignorant of the facts - either way you are wrong.
    Great post Simon. Provocative, well researched and well written - are you sure you are a plumber and not a chef (sorry). Actually this government has said publicly that it is committed to the idea of a licence to practice in industry to drive up standards. Just because schoolies are being forced to become nothing more than civil servants there is no reason why we should want to be the same - can FE teachers really want that?
    There is something everyone is missing. If IfL achieves the recognition of QTLS in schools (and it seems to be far closer than UCU has ever got with its cracked record on pay) surely the unions then have, for the first time, a real lever for terms and conditions. I think people on here need to get there heads out of the knee-jerk sand (or other dark holes) they have shoved them in and think about the long term consequences. Trouble is, it will be the same old union lags who have resisted teachers even needing a teaching qualification (yes we still have some pre-2001ers in our place proud that they aren't qualified) that complain about IfL. Professional is as professional does.
    Simon. Does your plumbing body (sorry, don't know name) push for mandatory membership. Seems to me that if any sector needs to have the protection of regulation - it is plumbing. Actually, that's another plus point for FE unions. Surely if there are regulations and professional criteria covering FE teaching, then it is difficult for colleges to employ any old numpty as a 'teacher'. Or do unions really want colleges to sack all their teachers because they are no longer required to employ them by regulation. Seems to me to be a case of be very careful what you wish for.
    I'm sure Turkeys wouldn't vote in favour of Christmas, but if they won the day all they would achieve is a much swifter visit to the slaughter-house when they became surplus to requirements. Think on colleagues, think on!
  8. Don't I remember reading on another thread somewhere that you can't teach in FE because of something you once did? That you are not actually a teacher. Or in FE.
  9. Chef,
    The whole issue of licence to practice is complex. I don't have the answer to this, although I mentioned that since mandatory gas licencing, quality of workmanship has dived in the domestic sector - I can support this anacdotally, through my own research (a study of vocational pedagogy through a case study of plumbing apprenticeships) and from internet forums. So licence to practice does not necessarily mean better goods and services to the public, nor does it mean 'professional' status.
    Certification and cpd seem better options than a licence to practice to me, regarding the plumbing industry - on this note, at least IfL want 'experience' of teaching and cpd - which is significantly more than Gas Safe want for gas operatives on licence to practice - so the point I was making here was that IfL is protectionist in this respect - which has got to be good from the perspective of those already in FE teaching.
    What the 'organic' plumbing associations do, particularly OPGO is try work a system of deliberative democracy, where reasoned arguments are considered rather than a show of hands. This particular group has less than 50 members and have already been to the house of lords, and participated in national CO debates - it also has representation on a national gas sector skills group. The association also has practical functions for me, it has a database of faults on boilers that we all add to, helping us to diagnose problems when they arise - it costs £25/year. On the other hand I am a Fellow of a Chartered Institute of Plumbing, that gives me little other than professional status (without licence to practice) which costs about £120.
    Compared to all the plumbing organisations I belong to, IfL seems good value. If the issues that posters are concerned with are professional, then they would be best served by getting into IfL like chef's colleague, to give their voice and challenge the policies - a slow process!
  10. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    Regardless of your personal opinion about the IfL, Cheffy, which you have given us the benefit of on many occasions, the UCU (as now replaced the NATFHE) is recommending its demise.
    I know what I am paying for having just renewed my vehicle breakdown cover, but I don't know what I will get if I have to fork out £68 to the IfL. Many people on her, in fact most, have a contrary view to you Cheffy. If the majority have their way, and the Union(s) oppose it it should die. If they have a Viking funeral on the Thames for it, will you jump on in sympathy?
  11. This is pure delusion.
    Firstly the IfL will never achieve parity between QTS and QTLS because it is analagous to achieving parity between chalk and cheese.
    But lets say for arguments sake they did - it would change nothing. That's because the only lever any trade union has is the withdrawal of its members' labour.
    When my college broke from the national pay agreement a couple of years ago we all voted to strike. The strike was broken in hours. And that's because there are any number of bright young graduates who think that £28k for 36 weeks work is nirvana. The truth is that UCU cannot enforce the pay agreement it already has. The guy I sit next to has QTS and QTLS and earns £5k less than me for doing the same job, and there is nothing he, me, you or the UCU can do about it.
    If a trade union cannot force equal pay between schools and FE then a professional body certainly can't either.
    If by some bizarre miracle QTS/QTLS parity was achieved tomorrow there is no way any college would start paying us on school teachers' rates even if they wanted to. Where would the money come from?
    And I don't know it you have noticed but the last government set the groundwork to scrap the national agreement on school teachers' pay and the current government has wasted no time pursuing this agenda. So the prize you are aiming for is likely to disappear in any case.
    The pursuit of QTS/QTLS parity is a fool's errand that the IfL continues to use to hoodwink people like your goodself into lending them your support.
    There are, in my view, good reasons to support, in principle, an obligatory independent professional body for FE teachers. This, however, is not one of them.

  12. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    No. That's bull excrement.
    I'm a fully qualified F E lecturer with a PGCE FE from Manchester University dated 30th June 1995. In addition I have two Skills for Life Literacy and Numeracy teaching qualifications.
    I got in trouble when I was a teenager and spent time in detention centres and borstal between the years 1974 and 1977.
    My schooling ended when I was thirteen (1974) at the point of being put into the care of the local authority. There was no regular school provision in the community home I was placed in. I worked in the kitchens and at a plastics factory.
    When I was thirty (1990) I undertook an Access To Higher Education course and then a degree in Philosophy at Lancaster University (1991-1994) and then the PGCE FE (Inclusive Education) at Manchester University (1994-1995). I then taught until 2002 when the CRB Disclosure scheme was introduced.
    I continued to teach until 2004 when I gave up because I was experiencing a lot of confusion on the part of interviewers at interviews.
    The majority of my work was part-time and community education projects but I also taught mainstream A level Philosophy and English Literature in further education colleges in Cambridgeshire.
    Since that time I have been accepted onto an M A In Social Work at Hull University (2006) but the place was withdrawn because they couldn't find me a placement due to social services being concerned about my past!
    The social services wouldn't explain anything in writing and The Social Care Council declined to get involved
    I've also worked in secure units and homeless hostels and young peoples' housing projects etc but, I no longer bother to have anything to do with any kind of work requiring a CRB Disclosure because of the ignorance of the personnel departments.
    I have been able to help quite a few organisations better understand the legislation surrounding CRB Disclosure and this has resulted in some staff being retrained and my receiving several letters of apology for the way I have been treated from educational establishments.
    Nowadays, I do the minimum re work. I run a small property management company developed out of a gardening venture I started last year.
    I make sure I get plenty of money off the government re housing benefit and council charge allowance and working tax credit.
    I keep my hours low so I don't endanger the benefits.
    My credo is "F Em".
  13. By all means argue against something I said, but seems a waste of your good time to argue against something I didn't say!! QTLS being recognised in the school sector is not the same as parity with QTS. Please bother to read post next time.
  14. So, the leading protagonist is not an FE teacher. Ho hum.
  15. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I'd hardly call myself the leading protagonist but I've rejected the IfL from day one.
    I don't need them because I know my standards and I know my standards are far higher than anything they deem appropriate.
    I choose not to work in F E at present.
    The IfL is one of the reasons.
    One reason that can be added to the others being, too many unqualified people working in F E, too many managers with no experience of actually teaching in F E and the general chaos of people around F E colleges who don't know what they are doing.
    You only have to read these boards to see how many people have no idea what they are doing in the job.
    I've even given up pursuing education courses in F E. I undertook a few computer qualifications but gave up because there was no support. God alone knows why I expected support when the lecturers (often without PGCE F E) didn't even have the qualification they were teaching.
    In short, F E is a toilet.
    Anyone with any standards will be struggling against a load of stupidity.
    I had a few happy years but I wouldn't go anywhere near it nowadays.
  16. Well if that isn't a definition of parity then I'm not sure what is.
    And if you are asking me as an FE lecturer to cough up £68 to my professional body so that colleagues can leave FE and work in schools then your argument for supporting the IfL is even less persuasive.
  17. At my college they are looking into performance related pay in terms of annual increments - one of the criteria is that you have to gain professional formation/qtls from ifl, even if you gained qts in a school previously. I qualified as a teacher in school but did not do my induction year. Having now been teaching in FE for 6 years I have to provide a portfolio demonstrating competence and reflections on teaching, learning and effect of cpd. I had no idea they were going to make us pay to be members too. I think when they eventually see sense and make it a way of FE tutors being able to go and teach in schools then, and only then will it be a worthwhile thing.
  18. Ok, firstly this is not a sounding board for any personal insults, so may I suggest people stop that straight away, or the TES will quite rightly remove your comments. Anyone whether they are still an FE lecturer or not is more than entitled to commenton this topic surely.
    Now coming back to the subject in hand, namely the IfL, mandatory requirements to join and now the fees requirement. I have doubts about the validity of any of these things. I am all for government intervention to make the FE profession more professioanl and gain recognotion for this, yet I doubt the IfL have or will achieve this goal.
    The previous government quite rightly introduced legislation to make all FE teachers now gain a recognised teaching quailification, such as a PGCE, CertEd or DTLLS, and also put in place the requirement to move onto gaining a Level 5 sibject specialism too; all of which I posess, and surely this proves a lecturer as being 'qualified to teach'. I have myself being graded as 'outstanding', grade 1, by both internal and external Ofsted inspections, which again regularly assess my abilities and competence. Yet even had I been graded as 'inadequate', grade 4 I would still have been entitled to join the IfL, confirming my professionalism. It is known that there are thousands of such grade 4 lecturers in FE, yet the IfL does nothing to cut this out of the FE sector, as much as they claim that is one of their purposes, and was the reason they were created in the first place.
    I also agree with the previous and current government's drive to make the IfL a self funding organisation, and to operate as a business. But any business and self funding organisation should only receive finds from willing members, members that have chosen to become a member because they see the benefits of doing so. I would love to put on my CV that I am a member of such a trade organisation that I have chosen to join, but I would only chose to join such an organisation if I was shown the benefits of joining. However at present all I am seeing is a great big stick, threatening me with expulsion from a profession I have literally given blood, sweat and tears for if I don't join. I am not seeing any carrot or incentive to join due to benefits or 'perks' being offered for me joining the IfL.
    As a previous poster eluded to before, when I renew my road-side car cover, I know what I am getting for the money, they offer me discounts on things, free things, and a piece of mind to know that they will be there when I call, but with the IfL all i get is a letter threatening me if I don't do enforced CPD, or if I should heaven forbid no longer want to be in their club they will stop me from being able to work at all. Not even the AA threaten to take my licence away if I don't want to be a member anymore.
  19. I think it is a shame that most of its members seem to be unaware of the huge amount of work IfL is doing for them nationally. Take securing and administering the ITT grant: no small achievement as without it it we almost certainly would have seen the end of initial teacher training, or at least as we know it. Where UCU takes an oppositional position to government (in this case strong messages about importance of ITT), IfL offers pragmatic solutions. There is a lot to be said for a strong professional voice. We do not have one in HE and the GTC never provided this for schools.

    Read IfL's response to the Wolf Review before you judge them. A well-crafted, evidence based critique of vocational education and training and the only response to include wide practitioner consultation. I'm not sure if UCU even responded, if they did it was without member consultation.

    I hope people can be a little less reactionary and actually look at the current and future potential of IfL. Take Reflect, it has revolutionised technology within ITT and really raised the profile of technology in learning. I'd take with a pinch of salt those who complain about it, as they tend to be the same individuals who refuse to accept the importance of technology full stop.
  20. Shame to see Lee Davis taking so much flak. Having seen him speak a number of times, there is no better advocate for further education teachers. I doubt many know what he does for teachers in terms of really difficult work with government. He knows further education teaching and teacher training inside out. The presentation he gave to teacher educators at the SCETT conference late last year was extraordinary and really challenged HE perceptions about further education. I have no particular flag to fly here, just wanted to say that when it comes to national advocacy for further education you have a real champion here.

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