Union motion to abandon ILT

December 8, 2000

The Association of University Teachers is set to withdraw cooperation with the Institute for Learning and Teaching and launch an alternative.

A motion to be put to the AUT's winter council next week calls for a full boycott of the institute and the severing of formal links with it. This would mean the resignation of the AUT's representative on the ILT board.

The Liverpool branch motion calls on the executive to draw up plans for an alternative that could replace its teacher-accrediting functions, modelled on the General Teaching Council and the General Medical Council. A separate motion from the executive calls for plans for an ILT rival to be formally explored.

AUT opposition to the ILT has been mounting steadily. At the summer council in May, a full boycott was narrowly defeated, and a motion from the executive criticised the institute and called for major improvements. A recent paper by the AUT executive on the progress the ILT has made reports that several key AUT demands have not been met. The main sticking points are the AUT's demands for "a more streamlined accreditation procedure", a cheaper membership process and the introduction of group membership for all teachers in a department that had successfully met external quality assurance demands.

The AUT said the ILT had been reluctant to move significantly towards any of the main objectives.

The AUT is concerned that the ILT has not adopted a more ambitious recruitment target and that it "has a serious PR problem", with awareness of the institute and its role being "extremely patchy".

Next week's motion says that because the improvements have not been achieved, the AUT should recommend that its members do not join the ILT.

Moves towards setting up an AUT-run body to rival and eventually replace the ILT have the backing of the AUT executive. A report to local associations from general secretary David Triesman recommends that the AUT move quickly to replace the ILT if it fails.

It says: "The AUT has, alongside its functions as a trade union, a history of involvement and achievement as a professional association. Many members have urged the AUT to fulfil its role as their professional association."

The report also warns that the AUT will "take all necessary steps" to prevent any other body, such as the Quality Assurance Agency or Ofsted, claiming authority to regulate professional accreditation.

The AUT would aim to reduce bureaucracy and ensure membership was more easily obtainable.

An ILT spokeswoman said the institute was "surprised and disappointed" by the motion. "We have been working constructively with AUT officers and members on our council to address their concerns and we continue to work with the AUT," she said.

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