Disabled learners let down

9th September 2011 at 01:00

Once again I read with concern and sadness about the reduction in services for post-16 and 19 students with disabilities or learning difficulties ("FE is failing disabled on post-16 help, says Ofsted", FE Focus, 26 August).

Funding to colleges for this marginalised group has been significantly reduced, combined with a restricted curriculum and a very tight focus on academia and vocational skills that does not offer wider opportunities for personal development.

The national careers service has effectively been destroyed and the Connexions support and guidance programme is a shadow of its former self.

For skills minister John Hayes ("We are committed to choice", FE Focus, 26 August) to suggest learners can make an informed choice is an illusion insofar as the opportunities for a significant number of students have been systematically removed or radically reduced by the application of funding methodologies that are insensitive to their demands and needs.

As ever, the mirage of wider access, participation and success is being promoted at the expense of colleges' reputations and students' aspirations.

Dr Len Parkyn, Senior teacher, Vines Cross, East Sussex.

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