IfL's regional CPD events highlight good practice

30 Jun 2008 03:42 PM More than 900 people from every part of the diverse further education and skills sector took part in a series of regional events hosted by the Institute for Learning (IfL) in June 2008. The 18 half-day sessions – held in London, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Norwich, Manchester and Plymouth – were all fully booked.

The main purpose of the events was to showcase innovative examples of continuing professional development (CPD) in FE and skills, and participants included staff development managers, lecturers, chief executives and others with responsibility for CPD in their institution.

This was the second series of IfL seminars focusing on CPD. "Based on feedback from participants at our November 2007 seminars, we took a different approach this time," said Dr Jean Kelly, head of professional development at IfL. "People wanted concrete examples of how providers and individuals were approaching their CPD. So we interviewed a diverse mix of providers, and produced eight case studies, each of which has a different story to tell. The providers then presented their case studies at the seminars, and I'm delighted to say that they were extremely well received."

One of the case studies is about Oaklands College in Hertfordshire, where an innovative e-mentoring scheme has helped the college deal with the challenge of supporting more than 600 staff to use technology in the classroom and workshop. The idea was based on the tendency for younger people to have more confidence with electronic gadgets, computer equipment and software, and involves student volunteers helping lecturers and fellow learners make good use of the college's £400,000 investment in technology. According to Richard Everett, director of elearning and mastermind of the e-mentoring concept, the project has been a resounding success. "Teachers benefit from gaining skills that they would not have had time to learn separately, because this is on-the-job learning," he said. "The effective use of IT is having beneficial effects on the college, and success rates are up."

Another case study features EAGIT Training, a work-based learning provider in East Anglia that provides training in engineering and has developed a subject learning coach programme to motivate and inspire teaching staff.

A third tells the story of how the principal at Richmond upon Thames College is playing a leading role in staff development, working directly with those who seek management training. No fewer than 26 members of staff have successfully completed the certificate stage of a postgraduate course in leadership and management.

"The response from participants has been tremendous," said Dr Kelly. "We are particularly encouraged by the number of members who have volunteered to participate in our research project or the pilot review of CPD, both of which are now fully subscribed. The demonstrations of REfLECT, a tool to facilitate reflection and CPD planning, proved popular at all the sessions, and many participants have put themselves forward as IfL connections, to act as CPD and REfLECT champions in their institution.

"The participants' enthusiasm has exceeded our expectations and shows the overwhelming commitment to professional development that exists in the sector – in every sense."


Dr Kelly is available for interview, and press-quality photos of her are available on request.

The case studies may be downloaded in PDF format from


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 and 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 this registration process and for conferring licensed practitioner status.

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


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Lindsay Baugh 07736 246 697 or 01707 392 552
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