Institute for Learning
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IfL publishes findings of first member survey

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has published a report summarising the findings of its first member survey, which nearly 6,500 members completed during summer 2008. The purpose of the survey was to help IfL learn more about its members' views so far and develop a better understanding of what they valued and their requirements.

Most respondents had been IfL members only for a short time, and had not yet had the chance to benefit from their membership. This was reflected in the survey findings, which showed that many members did not seem to be well informed about the benefits to which they were entitled.

Asked about their main reason for joining IfL, 47 per cent of respondents chose 'employer requirement' from the list of options offered. Government regulations accounted for 28 per cent, professional status 13 per cent and professional development 8 per cent. When asked about other factors that influenced their decision to register, a much higher proportion of members cited professional status, professional development, membership benefits and networking opportunities as being contributory factors. Members appear to be passionate about their professionalism.

Two-thirds of respondents felt that they knew about the minimum number of hours' continuing professional development (CPD) that full-time teachers should undertake each year.

IfL's chief executive, Toni Fazaeli, said, "Listening and responding to members is at the heart of our work, and these findings will help us build on our successes, develop membership benefits, refine our communications with members and improve the way we work. Some have suggested it is courageous to ask for members’ views so early in their membership and to make the findings public. I agree. IfL is, and should be, bold on behalf of its members. As a member-led body, we are determined to listen to members so that we understand and can respond to the needs of the professional teachers, trainers and assessors who serve some five million learners across the further education and skills sector.

"The survey findings are already informing our policy and advisory work, and feeding into our five-year strategic plan. We will carry out regular surveys to help build our understanding of the views of practitioners, and measure our progress as their professional body. 

"We have grown very quickly as an organisation, and this survey has highlighted aspects of our service that clearly need further work. We take members' feedback seriously and have already started making improvements in a number of areas. Examples include improved telephone and helpline services and more training for members in the use of REfLECT, our online personal space for planning and reflecting on professional development.

"We can already see signs that members are moving from feeling they had to join to seeing the potential benefits of having their own professional body and getting valued services. We want to offer more benefits that members value; we want to help raise the status of teachers and trainers across FE and skills; and we want their voice to influence policy.

"I have just returned from a series of café discussions with members around the country, who confirmed their real commitment to having a professional body with universal membership of practitioners across FE and skills. There is a growing sense of pride in their profession, the FE sector, and being a member of IfL."



The online survey was open between 25 June and 15 August 2008, and available in hard copy or large print format as well. A total of 6,324 surveys were completed, representing 5 per cent of the membership at that time, and a further 2,332 partial responses were recorded. Dr Ian Gittens, an independent expert and member of the Market Research Society, analysed the responses.

The summary report is available to download in PDF format at

About IfL

The Institute for Learning (IfL) was formed in 2002 and is the professional body for teachers, tutors, trainers and student teachers in the learning and skills sector, including adult and community learning, emergency and public services, further education colleges, Ministry of Defence and the armed services, the voluntary sector and work-based learning.

Much of IfL’s work is guided by two sets of regulations that came into force on 1 September 2007:

* Revised teaching qualifications, including the introduction of licensed practitioner status and differentiation between full and associate teachers

* Remaining in good standing as a teaching professional, including mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) for all teachers.

Under the regulations, all FE college teachers are required to register as members of IfL, undertake CPD each year and abide by the IfL Code of Professional Practice. The regulations are supported by contractual requirements for LSC-funded provision, which will ensure that the scope of the regulations covers all teachers in the sector.

The government has agreed to meet the full cost of standard registration with IfL for teachers in LSC-funded institutions who register online.

IfL also welcomes teachers and trainers who do not work on LSC-funded programmes; they are required to pay their own annual subscription, for which they receive a comprehensive range of professional benefits.

Teachers new to the sector from September 2007 are additionally required to become licensed practitioners. Although not mandatory for them, existing teachers are also encouraged to become licensed practitioners, as this will become the benchmark for the sector.

As a key partner in delivering workforce reform, IfL is responsible for managing the registration process and for conferring licensed practitioner status.

An independent professional body, IfL is governed by an elected council and works closely with several sector organisations, unions and employer bodies.


Press office:

Lindsay Baugh 07736 246 697 or 01707 392 552


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