IfL makes joint statement with trade unions and employers
Tuesday 7 June 2011
Following discussions with trade unions and employers, facilitated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Institute for Learning (IfL) has issued a statement setting out the agreements reached and the progress made across eight areas:
1. Support for shared principles:
- a commitment to a professional, high-status, qualified and regulated teaching workforce, recognising its importance for consistent quality of service to learners and employers, and for the good reputation of the sector;
- recognition of the value of having a flourishing, independent, professional membership body that is both accountable and relevant to its members;
- recognition of the importance of retaining a flexible and diverse workforce; and
- agreement that fee policies need to ‘feel fair’ as well as being as clear and simple as possible.
2. Recognition of the wider interest of the further education and skills sector in being able to exemplify the maintenance of professional standards through a ‘licence to practise’ approach, and potential benefits for the sector of this approach being introduced across a range of other industries.
3. A review of membership fee levels by IfL’s elected non-executive board and agreement to reduce them for the coming two years, 2011/12 and 2012/13, enabled by BIS’s agreement to a more flexible approach to use of existing budgets for transition funding.
4. Clarification that occasional teachers, now defined as those teaching no more than 28 hours in a year, are not subject to the regulations and therefore may join IfL voluntarily but are not required to do so.
5. Clarification about classifying individual teachers as associate teachers, who are subject to the regulations.
6. On the basis of the agreed transitional financial support from BIS, IfL has amended its fees and concessions for 2011/12 and 2012/13, and will offer members:
- an extension of the period covered by the £68 fee to two years, for those tens of thousands of members who have already renewed and paid their membership for 18 months from 1 April 2011, and for other members who renew for the period up to 31 March 2013
- the opportunity for members to pay an annualised fee of £38 for 2011/12 and £38 for 2012/13, with a guarantee that the fee will not be higher than £68 in 2013/14
- a new reduced fee level for those individuals earning £16,000 a year or less, but who are above the personal income tax threshold of £7,475.
Full details of the fees and concessions for all membership grades, before and after tax, are available on IfL’s website. The deadline for 2011/12 membership renewals has been extended to Friday 22 July 2011, and IfL will work with employers that support payroll deductions to ease fee payments for teachers and trainers.
IfL will work with employers, trade unions, and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) in a number of ways, to develop a longer-term sustainable approach, enhance IfL member benefits, give teachers and trainers the best possible continuing professional development (CPD), advance their standing and enhance the reputation of the sector. Specific measures will include setting up a reference group, involving trade unions and employers, and seeking chartered status.
8. The trade unions and employers have agreed the following statement:
The trade unions and employer organisations recognise the value and benefits an independent professional teaching and learning membership body can bring to both individuals and employers in the further education and training sector. Raising the standards of teaching and training are at the heart of all that colleges and learning providers do. A professional body that services its members provides valuable continuing professional development (CPD) and raises the profile of and status of the profession is welcomed.
Individual teaching and training staff have the responsibility to maintain their IfL membership but it is recognised that individuals might approach their employer to seek support.
The parties will:
- Continue to work with and support the professional body, IfL, in their review to ensure that is CPD offer is relevant, remains current and ensures that staff are given the best opportunity to develop and reflect on their own learning, through the provision of adequate time and facilities to meet their professional obligation of a minimum of 30 hours a year
- Examine the feasibility of the payment of fees through payroll with employers.
Sue Crowley, chair of IfL, said, “We are pleased to have reached agreement about continuing to develop IfL as the independent professional body for teachers and trainers in our sector, which benefits their learners and the sector overall. I would like to thank all those who took part in these important discussions, and the skills minister, John Hayes, for facilitating the talks. We welcome BIS’s flexible approach and the offer of additional funding, which has made it possible for IfL’s elected non-executive board to agree to a two-year reduction in fees.
”I want also to acknowledge the countless college and provider staff, IfL regional advisers and Volunteer Connections who continued working so hard to support CPD and professional formation to gain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS) during a time of uncertainty. My special thanks go to them all for their unwavering support of their professional body.”