Disabled learners' lost decade

10th October 2008 at 01:00

It is appropriate, following the very welcome launch of the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning, that I raise the plight of disabled learners. Marginalised and under-resourced, with reduced educational provision and associated services, they have been disenfranchised by the funding focus on academia and skills acquisition and the systematic and systemic erosion of experienced and qualified staff to teach on specialist programmes of study. No wonder 35,000 places have been lost over the past decade, leaving learners with difficulties and disabilities feeling ignored.

UK plc is not only about economic growth and employment. It is also about social care and involvement, and adult education has a major role to play in this.

Given the major changes in FE funding, monitoring and planning set to occur over the next two years, perhaps in future we will be able to celebrate significant improvements in post-19 education opportunities for all learners and also make up for lost programmes of study for those with learning difficulties.

Len Parkyn, Tutor, Horam, East Sussex.

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