From education to employment

Majority of 216 Respondents Welcome New Approach

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has today published a report that signals a radical new approach in the funding and planning of learning for those people with learning disabilities, FE News can reveal.

Entitled “Through Inclusion to Excellence ““ An Analysis of the Responses”, the report details the extensive consultation with institutions across the country in developing a national strategy, of which Further Education colleges were the highest respondents.

However, while the overwhelming majority of the 216 responses welcomed the change, some criticism was raised at current government policy on disability learning. “There is a growing body of evidence emerging that the targeting of resources on the LSC’s public-service agreement target is having an adverse impact on provision for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities”, a “National organisation” declared.

Recommendations in the report, among others, identified the need for the LSC to work in conjunction with agencies such as the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) in developing a culture of self-improvement and peer referencing; that providers consider the quality improvement needs of their provision; that the LSC work with appropriate agencies in the development of occupational standards and relevant qualifications for all staff; that the LSC and DfES clarify planning arrangements for schools to enable a single planning process for providers delivering to post-16 learners.


Yet of the 16 recommendations, of which no’s 1 and 16 were feedback, respondents did identify a need to clarify the funding arrangements that would essentially be used to enforce the new policies. Also highlighted was the apparent focus on local provision, which many thought would result in cheaper, ineffective provision at local institutions as opposed to more expensive independent specialist provision. Furthermore, issues concerning ethnic minority communities in relation to learners with disabilities and/or disabilities should have been considered more, according to the responses.

The National Council of the LSC unanimously endorsed the findings and recommendations. “Through Inclusion to Excellence mirrors our aspiration for a balance of national consistency and local flexibility to deliver provision that is both innovative and offers parity of experience for all people”, came the official LSC response. “The LSC commits itself to delivering all of the reports recommendations for which it has direct, or part, responsibility”.

Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, noted: “In our recent FE White Paper, “Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances”, we outlined plans to improve support for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and taking forward the recommendations”¦ is key to this”.

The LSC is confident that the new structure will be fit for purpose and anticipates a progress and success report near 2009/2010.

View the full report here

Vijay Pattni.

Related Articles