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Disabled decline

The response by the trio of staff representing the Association of Colleges (Letters, January 29) criticising the NUS survey of provision for disabled students ("Disabled student aspirations `capped' by colleges' attitudes, claims union", January 22) is rather disingenuous.

The point is that provision may appear large across the country but opportunities, programmes and courses are not as extensive as they were a decade or so ago.

With the emphasis on academia, basic skills and vocational training, there has been a reduction in all domains in terms of student numbers and educational offers. Also, many educational programmes are very short term and not full time.

When past students communicate with me the vast majority, along with their families or carers, all express dissatisfaction with the quality of service that they receive from the incorporated college sector.

Let us not play the "emperor's new clothes" game for another cycle - there are major problems for this marginalised and disenfranchised group of learners. It is time to sort this conundrum out once and for all.

Dr Len Parkyn, Senior teacher.

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