Radical option for special needs FE;Letter

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
The article "Inclusion targets under fire" (TES, April 2) was not fully accurate. The Tomlinson report made it clear that it was no longer enough to "tinker" with services for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. The report emphasised that the whole of the sector would need to change.

It is exactly this radical shift that the Further Education Funding Council's quality initiative, set up in response to Tomlinson, aims to bring about.

Colleges are improving every aspect of their work to become inclusive. This is the change students with learning difficulties and disabilities, parents, self-advocacy groups and college staff said was needed.

The Association of Colleges is also supporting the Association of National Specialist Colleges in the second stage of the quality initiative. NATSPEC members meet the further education needs of more than 2,000 students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

We welcome the work done by Skill, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, in the interest of these students. Skill's close involvement in stage 1 of the quality initiative meant it contributed significantly to the shape and focus of stage 2.

David Gibson Chief Executive Association of Colleges 5th Floor, 103 New Oxford Street London W1

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