Institute for Learning
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IfL responds to final report of FE professionalism review

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has responded to the final report of the independent review panel, “Professionalism in Further Education”, published on Tuesday 23 October 2012.

IfL’s chief executive, Toni Fazaeli, said, “At a time of great change in our sector, IfL’s role as the independent professional body, with more than 75,000 voluntary members and growing daily, is to ensure continued support for professionalism, professional development and the creation of conditions that enable great teaching and learning to flourish. I want to thank the thousands and thousands of our members whose views informed IfL’s responses to the review and to the government’s consultation on workforce regulations. Together, we can continue to make a difference, for the benefit of learners, businesses and our economy.

“IfL welcomes the report’s references to a recognisable professional identity across further education and skills. We agree that teachers and trainers need greater flexibility to explore and make a creative and innovative contribution to professional excellence. IfL is pleased to be a key partner in the proposal led by the Association of Colleges and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers to run the new FE Guild.

“From our recent surveys and dialogue with more than 10,000 IfL members who have engaged in debates around professional identity and what professionalism means to teachers and trainers across our diverse sector, we know that the overwhelming majority associate their professionalism with the requirement to hold a professional qualification and to stay up to date with teaching methods and industry practice.

“While leaders and managers have a responsibility to promote a collaborative culture, it is far too limiting to think that staff training, professional updating and behaviour are purely matters between employer and employee. IfL members are clear about taking primary responsibility as individuals for driving and improving their own professionalism and standards of practice, and they say they value support in this endeavour from IfL as their professional body.

“Already IfL is delivering some of the aspirations in the Lingfield report. IfL works in partnership with SKOPE (the Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance) at the University of Oxford, offering a new practitioner researcher programme (PRP) with leading academics, so that members develop rigorous research and publication skills in order to generate more outstanding teaching and training practice. The pilot PRP was hugely oversubscribed, with more than 200 practitioners signing up between 5pm one day and 9am the next. An invitation for members who hold Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS) to opt in to a professional status register attracted a similarly large and rapid response, with more than 600 of those holding professional status wanting to be on the register in the first few hours.

“The role of employers in empowering teaching or training staff to shape their professional learning and trusting them to exercise their professional autonomy to learn collaboratively and deliver improvements in teaching and learning has been the focus of our work with sector partners in recent months. IfL is pleased that three of our jointly produced papers were specifically mentioned in the review panel’s report. IfL works with employer bodies and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) to build on a shared vision of professional teaching and training across the sector, and will continue to work collaboratively, bringing our distinctive membership from right across the diversity of the FE and skills sector in order to do this. We believe that teaching and training must be a high-status profession and attract high-calibre individuals, and that there must be robust initial teacher training so that subject or vocational experts rapidly become expert teachers or trainers too. Every learner deserves this.”

NotesThe three papers mentioned in the final report of the independent review panel were:

IfL, 2012. Leading learning and letting go: building expansive learning environments in FE

IfL, 2012. Professionalism – education and training practitioners across further education and skills.

157 Group, 2012. Great teaching and learning.

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