Why some courses must close

1st February 2008 at 00:00

I want to make a number of points in response to last week's letter from Len Parkyn about learners with learning difficulties andor disabilities.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) recognises that these are among the most vulnerable people in FE. High-quality learning provision for learners of all ages with learning difficulties andor disabilities remains a priority, even where that may not directly contribute towards targets.

The LSC reiterated this to all FE principals. Any college that has assumed this position has changed is wrong.

As set out in the LSC's statement of priorities, we will target public funding at those who are most excluded from the labour market, and safeguard the number of places for adult learners with learning difficulties andor disabilities for 200809 to 201011, to provide stability to support forward planning.

We continue to monitor the position.

The sector must preserve appropriate discrete programmes for people with learning difficulties andor disabilities that have a clear progression pathway to either support employment or further learning. But we must also recognise the legitimate closure of some courses for adults with learning disabilities. Some colleges will decide to end a course because the aim of the programme is, sadly, no longer focused on learning.

To retain this group of learners in "learning", simply to occupy them does not serve them. It will not support their integration into local communities. We would not expect to retain other people on courses without direction or purpose. We should expect no less for their peers with learning difficulties andor disabilities.

We must deliver opportunities which help everyone to succeed.

Rob Wye, Director, strategy and communications group and the learning group, Learning and Skills Council, Coventry.

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