White paper leaves pupils out

18th March 2005 at 00:00
Within the debate on the 14-19 white paper there is one group of students who have been left out: those with learning difficulties. During the production of the Tomlinson report Skill contributed to the production of a diploma for students working at entry level. This was discussed by the entry-level and equal-opportunity sub-group and included in the proposals.

The Secretary of State makes no commitment to this group of learners, nor do the references to equality make any reference to disability at all. The very short section entitled "learners with learning difficulties" is just a list of other existing initiatives. The whole language of the white paper is offensive and non-inclusive. Skill expects better of the Department for Education and Skills.

Barbara Waters

Chief executive

Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities

Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London SE1

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