Minority report

There are 282,000 students who have declared a learning difficulty, disability or health problem studying in colleges; 141,000 of these have a disability and 156,000 have a learning difficulty, while some have both. The response to the NUS survey by 400 students reported in last week's FE Focus ("Disabled student aspirations `capped' by colleges' attitudes, claims union", January 22), therefore, represents a small minority.

Colleges' achievements in supporting the success of students with disabilities has been recognised by Ofsted and learners in the Framework for Excellence. Since December 2006 colleges have had to consult with disabled students on their courses and their support. Also, Additional Learner Support funding supports students from a wide range of educational disadvantage including ex-offenders, students with eating disorders and those students on the autistic spectrum.

The conclusions of the NUS survey will be unfamiliar to colleges, their funders, or the regulators. Provision has improved, there are more students with learning difficulties and disabilities accessing FE courses, and their level of satisfaction is high.

Joy Mercer, Deborah Ribchester, Nathan Lucas, Association of Colleges (AoC) Policy and Employment teams.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now