Archive for March, 2011


copy of ifl demand for paymentI am a self-employed ‘Fellow’ of the IfL. After 17 years teaching in F.E. I became redundant and took up the challenge of self-employment. For over five years I have worked independently as well as on a variety of national CPD programmes, which were aimed at raising the e-Learning capabilities of teaching colleagues. I have always paid my own IfL fee voluntarily, including the surcharge for possessing a Master’s level qualification that entitles me to the ‘Fellow’ appellation.

As far as I am aware, there is no rule, law or contract to make me do this.

I’ve been happy enough to pay the £45 fee each year with no real understanding of what I gained from being a member. I’m still no wiser – but am comfortable in the knowledge that each person I worked alongside was also a member. For the same (and more tangible) reasons I also remain a member of UCU (originally Natfhe). Furthermore, given my speciality (e-Learning), I am also a member of the Association of Learning Technology (ALT).

The fact that IfL now demands a 100%+ increase in my fee has made me step back and consider the issue more closely.

First of all, my membership of ALT still costs less than £50 p.a. and for that I get up to four printed peer assessed research journals and a monthly stream of newsletters along with the opportunity to discuss matters with my peers. What’s more, with ALT, I have the opportunity to undertake well-regarded (by the sector) and peer assessed certification of CPD (CMALT).

IfL have offered me the chance to use REFLECT (which I have). To the best of my knowledge no one has certified or checked the 30+ hours I have recorded each year. What saddens me, is that REFLECT can be easily replicated on the Web by individuals for little or no cost. They also offered me the chance to become a ‘Fellow’ – but I’ve no idea what that has done for me, for my peers or for my future. And now they want twice as much as before to offer me the same? As I say, I’m not sure what that is.

I’m sorry but they (IfL) will just have to suck it up like all of the other previously government supported private and not so private companies – lose some staff or take a pay cut. We didn’t cause the financial downturn – we’re all to careful with our money.

IfL will certainly have to start offering some value for money before I reconsider my decision not to re-enlist.

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This week’s walk took place in and around Reeth in North Yorkshire. Both Sharon and I enjoy the time we spend in Reeth and have visited the town on many occasions.

We were there for my ‘rearranged’ birthday weekend, originally planned for early December. We’d not been able to get to North Yorkshire at the time because of the bad weather. Snow had prevented us from leaving Wellhouse, and even if we could have got out, it was doubtful if we could have made it into Reeth itself as the weather was even worse up there. Furthermore, the keys for the cottage hadn’t arrived until the Monday after we were due to return because post at that time was somewhat erratic.

Anyway, as previously arranged Tony and Gill were with us and the walking was great.

We all walked together as far as the moor above Marrick and then as they set off north to walk along Fremington Edge we turned right and headed down towards Marrick and then Marrick Priory, down by the river.

It wasn’t the longest walk we’ve ever done but just as pleasant as any – as they always are in this beautiful part of the world. We did see a few newborn lambs but were probably just a week too early for the bulk of them. Many barns had fat pregnant sheep inside, waiting for the midwife! Daffodils too – not quite yet.

Runkeeper App Result = http://runkeeper.com/user/dsugden/activity/28476700

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Man shown up a treeThis week’s walk actually took place on a Saturday. We both had errands we wanted to carry out too, so the walk pretty much revolved around those. I needed to drop a letter off at the bank and John needed some oil for his new thumper machine (which is a machine for thumping up and down on his new path, rather than a machine that turns out Disney rabbits).

I now have the RunKeeper App on my iPhone so I set that up and recorded most of the walk. http://runkeeper.com/user/dsugden/activity/27588875 however, I must say that if we’d stayed out another hour, there would have been no battery left, despite it being fully charged when I left. It saves me having to plot our trips on Google maps when I get back. Although that is the best way of finding out how far we’ve walked, it’s tedious and time consuming. Using RunKeeper makes it so much easier.

My letter for the bank had contained some documents for the bank manager to see, following a sneaky attempt by them and my credit card company to rob me. I really am not surprised that bank are almost all back in (huge) profit now, because they have most of us over a barrel. Tesco Bank for example, who supply my credit card, send Sharon a text some days before our payment is due. She then makes sure that money is transferred amongst our accounts (we have an off-set mortgage, with several ‘pockets’ of money making up the account total) and into the one which pays Tesco. However, last week she missed Tesco’s request for money by about an hour. She wasn’t to have known this as they asked for the payment five days before it was due!

The first we knew about the problem was when a letter from NatWest (our bank) arrived on our doorstep. This was written on 25th February and we received it on 4th March. No rush then? They said that they’d had to refuse Tesco’s request as there were insufficient funds in our account! Two things to note here: banks no longer re-submit requests like this and we are all therefore, susceptible to a fine for allowing this to happen …. (wtf?) Now, I have a good relationship with my bank manager and he checked straight away and said he couldn’t see what the problem was as there had been money in the account – don’t worry. But I did worry and insisted that he check further and deeper. It turned out that the ‘technology’ did it’s stuff at xx o’clock, about half an hour before Sharon transferred the money (thinking that she still had over a week before the money was due).

To shorten a long story, we have been able to STOP the fine by NatWest and the fine by Tesco Bank (as well as the ongoing interest payment that would have been then due), by assiduously following this through. But how many of us would notice, or bother to do something about it? Why Tesco ask for our money over a week before it’s due and why our bank take a week to let us know only adds fuel to my question – are banks there to serve us, or to rob us?

Answers on a postcard please to your local bank manager.

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