Still no help for the disabled

9th May 2008 at 01:00
The lead report on potential changes to adult education from April 18 is to be commended

The lead report on potential changes to adult education from April 18 is to be commended.

Earlier this year, I stated in FE Focus that there was a planned significant reduction in FE places for adults with learning difficulties andor disabilities (ALDD) of some 35,000 places over the past decade.

This view was rejected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

I was horrified but not surprised by the drop in 151,000 places for adult learners in general.

For many learners with severe and profound learning difficulties, the academic or skills route is not appropriate, and for the Government and the LSC to hide behind policy and targets is to continue to isolate and marginalise this demanding and needy group of learners.

Funding has been prioritised, although at the expense of many defined adult learning groups.

It is a sad and deplorable indictment of the LSC and government policy that places in post-19 further education for ALDD learners are being systematically reduced or destroyed.

The view of Alan Tuckett, director of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, that some colleges are taking on more and expensive programmes of study for the disabled and disadvantaged groups, is not supported by information from local and regional colleges.

The pound;210 million for informal learning will not go towards restoring the places that existed in the late 1990s for ALDD.

Perhaps some social and ethical sensitivity will be exercised with the demise and reduction of influence of the LSC in the next few years. One can only hope so.

Len Parkin, Horam, East Sussex.

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