Toni Fazeili

Institute for Learning (IfL) chief executive Toni Fazaeli has announced plans for her retirement after six years in the role.

She will hand over the reigns to Dr Jean Kelly, currently director of professional development at the organisation.

In a statement released this evening, Ms Fazeili said she was proud of what the IfL had achieved under her stewardship.

She said: “At a time of great change in our sector, IfL has made considerable strides in raising the profile and status of the teaching profession across the diversity of the sector, supporting members to achieve excellence in their professional practice, and giving teachers and trainers a voice to influence policymaking.

“Following a period of regulations, IfL has gone back to our proud roots as a voluntary professional membership body, with a distinctive role to play in supporting tens of thousands of individual practitioners.

“I know from my visits around the country and evidence from teachers, trainers and leaders that IfL has had an impact on the way the sector recognises and thinks about the central importance of professional development and the idea of teachers and trainers being empowered to drive their own professional learning.

“With many thousands of teachers and trainers choosing to engage with IfL and one another, as fellow professionals, IfL will continue to make a difference for the profession, and for the benefit of learners. It is a good time for me to move on as we have reviewed and built up excellent services and engagement with our members.

“I am delighted that Dr Jean Kelly, a distinguished educator, will take IfL forward after Easter. It has been my privilege to lead IfL for the last six years, and to work directly with very large numbers of teachers and trainers, and many others across the sector who share our passion for the highest quality teaching and learning.”

Sue Crowley, whose term as chair of the non-executive board has been extended for a year, said: “We would like to thank Toni for everything she has done for IfL and the teaching profession, before and during her six-year tenure as chief executive.

“Under her leadership, and thanks in no small measure to her persistence, IfL won a long-fought battle for further education teachers and trainers with Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) to be recognised in law as having parity with teachers holding Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), and as being qualified to teach in school settings.

“Through IfL, teachers and trainers have been given a strong voice: tens of thousands of members have taken the opportunity to share their views, experience and evidence, to help inform policymaking and thinking about pedagogy and to enhance their practice across the further education and skills sector.

“Toni has fought tirelessly for teachers and trainers across a very diverse sector to be recognised as professionals – dual professionals who are expert and stay up to date in their subject or vocational area, as well as in teaching methods, through continuing professional development. Her strong belief, which IfL shares, that all learners are entitled to have trained and qualified teachers and trainers has shone a spotlight on the issue of initial teacher qualifications and the need for a clear national policy.

“Toni and her executive team have also worked to establish key partnerships with other sector bodies, the inspectorate and several leading universities to ensure a much greater focus on teaching and learning; practitioner research; professional development programmes; evidence-based practice; and vocational pedagogy.

“I would wish Toni a long and happy retirement, but know only too well that she will be working hard, continuing to make her valuable contribution to a sector and profession about which she cares very much –as chair of governors at an FE college; as a commissioner on the Skills Commission; as founder of a not-for-profit organisation that provides learning opportunities to older people in care homes; as a writer; and as a highly respected Fellow of IfL.”