A step forward towards inclusion

14th May 2004 at 01:00
"Funding reform to benefit disabled" (FE Focus, April 16) is an announcement of intent by the Learning and Skills Council that should be applauded.

For far too many years, students have been regarded as "units of resource". But with this policy-making innovation, it seems that methodologies in funding could be getting more sensitive, responsive and relevant to the learning and support demands of students who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

I trust that additional monies will not be diverted into increased administration, assessment and management costs.

Additional or new funding must be directed towards quality provision in respect of well qualified, experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated staff - not only in the teaching domain but also in learning and welfare support, including medical services.

Students who have severe disabilities or profound learning needs will require support that goes significantly beyond what is normally provided.

The Learning and Skills Development Agency has highlighted an area of education which has been marginalised in the past.

Certainly, this is an opportunity for real inclusion, improvement and planned advancement.

Len Parkyn.

Head of Cherry Trees Further Education Centre

104 Lyndhurst Road

Brighton and Hove City, BN3.

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