IfL announces plans for closure and transfer to the ETF

The Institute for Learning (IfL) could become part of the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) following a recommendation by the IfL non-executive board.

The membership body’s non-executive board has announced its recommendation that IfL should close and that its legacy and assets should be passed to the ETF through a deed of gift.

If member representatives of IfL’s elected advisory council vote in favour of the proposal on July 17, it will begin the process of closing its operations and working with the foundation to transfer key functions by autumn 2014.

Sue Crowley, IfL elected chair, said:“IfL is currently in a sound financial position and holds surplus funds in reserve, in line with the reserves policy set out each year by the non-executive board.

“Following a detailed review, however, the board has concluded that without further substantial investment or alternative sources of revenue, IfL’s financial position would not be sustainable in the long term.

“More than anything, we wanted to ensure that the most valued aspects of IfL’s offer, the things that made IfL special, would be protected in the form of a legacy for teachers and trainers in further education and skills, and felt that it would be best to initiate an orderly wind-down of IfL and its operations.”

The IfL’s constitution stipulates that in the event of closure, any legacy should be transferred to a charitable organisation — such as the ETF.

Ms Crowley added: “We decided to offer the stewardship of the legacy to the ETF because its aims and objectives relating to the professionalism of teachers and trainers align closely with IfL’s; because it already has responsibility for professional standards in the sector: because it offers development opportunities for teachers and trainers; and because its remit extends across the entire further education and skills sector.

“We believe the foundation is the organisation best placed to continue pursuing IfL’s object: ‘to promote education and training for the public benefit by the enhancement and maintenance of the quality, standards and practice of learning and teaching’.”

Members of the IfL who have renewed their membership until March 31 next year would become part of the ETF’s professional membership and would continue to receive access to continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities and support, including REfLECT, the online personal learning space.

The IfL’s chief executive, Dr Jean Kelly, said: “It is vital that IfL members who have made a commitment to their professional practice by joining their professional body are supported and continue to have access to recognition, professional status and support.

“IfL and the ETF are committed to the professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS), and to ensuring that it continues to be recognised and offered to teachers and trainers in the sector.

“We are jointly in contact with the government to have the relevant statutory instrument amended to reflect the Foundation’s obligations.

“Securing parity, so that teachers with QTLS can work in school settings on the same pay and conditions as those with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), was one of IfL’s proudest achievements, and is a key part of our legacy.”

David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, said, “We are delighted to be offered IfL’s legacy and welcome the opportunity of supporting teachers and trainers in their professional development and ensuring that they have a voice.

“We believe strongly that teaching and training in our sector should be seen as a high-status profession, and that teachers and trainers should be encouraged to exercise professional autonomy and take ownership of their CPD, in the interests of improved teaching and learning, and for the benefit of learners.

“As the professional body, IfL has made a considerable impact on the way in which professionalism is perceived and discussed across a very diverse sector.

“We thank IfL for being willing to entrust to us the stewardship of its valuable legacy. We have entered into discussions with IfL with great optimism, and I am confident we will agree a transition plan that allows the foundation to uphold and build upon IfL’s legacy in the years to come.”