Jack Thorne, one of the writers of the new West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has said that funding cuts in further education are "detrimental” to young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).
Mr Thorne, a keen supporter of disability rights, was attending the "Right not a Fight" rally outside Parliament yesterday, at which members of Natspec (the membership organisation for specialist colleges) lobbied for a better system of education advice for their students.
"We live in a country that has always been good at identifying potential and building on that potential," he said. "[But] now, because of these short-term cuts in virtually everything, we seem not to be able to. We’re just leaving people behind and it’s detrimental to the country and it shouldn’t be the case.”
'Freedom, self-discovery and learning'
Mr Thorne praised the work of National Star College (article free to subscribers) in Cheltenham, a specialist FE college for learners with disabilities and learning difficulties. He said it was an "incredibly impressive" provider that gave its students the opportunity of "self-discovery as well as learning".
"I’m a massive admirer of National Star," he added. "Because what they do at National Star – that’s different to how other places operate. It’s all about freedom, and it’s all about self-discovery as well as learning, and it just seems like an incredibly impressive place that does incredibly impressive things. I hope we get into a world where there’s provision for lots of National Stars all over the country, because you’re seeing in all these independent people the possibilities out there.”
Earlier this year at the Bafta Television Awards, Mr Thorne said that government cuts to the Access to Work scheme were "wrong" and had "got to change".
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