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Guidance to the Learning and Skills Council on Meeting the Needs of Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities [1] (LDD) [April 2001]


Power to attach conditions to funding including disability statements
Action for the Council
Work experience arrangements
Action for the Council
Access to Good Quality Provision
Action for the Council
- Key first steps
- Quality
- Partnership working
Provision for under-represented groups
Action for the Council
Boarding accommodation
Action for the Council
New Assessment Arrangements (including the Connexions Service)
Action for the Council
Inter-agency working arrangements
Action for the Council
Transport and mobility
Action for the Council
Annex A: Background
-Relevant provisions in the Learning and Skills Act
-Extract from the Secretary of State’s Remit Letter
-Extract from the Prospectus chief inspector’s observations in Quality and Standards in Further Education in England 1999-2000
-Relevant provisions in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill
Annex B: Sources of Information and Good Practice
Annex C: List of useful organisations, and contact list of post-16 consortium
Annex D: List of abbreviations

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1. This paper aims to provide guidance for the Learning and Skills Council in relation to taking forward its responsibilities for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) as set out in the Learning and Skills Act (LSA) 2000. It reflects work undertaken for the Department by Skill, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, in consultation with members of the Post-16 Disability Consortium and other practitioners. Detailed information about the relevant provisions in the Learning and Skills Act are set out in Annex A, together with relevant extracts from the Secretary of State's Remit Letter and the Prospectus. Information about the relevant provisions in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill is also included at Annex A. Annex B sets out some sources of information and good practice, Annex C useful contacts including members of the disability consortium and Annex D a list of abbreviations.

2. Guidance for local Councils on their general responsibilities under section 14 of the LSA to promote equality of opportunity has also been prepared.

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3. The Council’s powers to secure financial resources for people receiving post-16 education and training are set out in section 5 of the LSA. This can include assistance with fees or the costs of such things as childcare and transport. Information about funding arrangements for young people in work based training who have additional learning or social needs is set out in Appendices 3.8
and 3.9 of the Learning and Skills Council Operations Guide, issued on 6 December. For 2001-02 there will be interim funding arrangements for trainees. In FE, the FEFC’s current arrangements will be maintained in 2001-02.

4. The Council is undertaking an exercise this year to map the various approaches and to develop a funding system which is understandable for learners, their advocates and providers alike. The principles are that funding must follow the learner and that there should be common levels of funding for learners with similar additional learning needs who are pursuing similar programmes anywhere in the country and in any LSC sector. The funding will not be based solely on the type or extent of learning difficulty or disability but linked to the amount of additional support a learner needs to successfully access and complete specific types of learning programmes. The overall policy aim is to drive up standards for those learners traditionally marginalised within education and training. The recommendations from the review will be included in the general consultation on the funding system for 2002-03. It has not yet been decided whether the new funding system for additional learner support will be introduced from 2002-03.

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Power to attach conditions to funding including publication of disability statements

5. Section 6 of the LSA gives the Council a power to attach conditions to payments it makes to post-16 education and training providers. Such conditions may include a requirement for a provider to publish statements in respect of its facilities for disabled people. The SEND Bill removes the Council’s power to impose these conditions on institutions because they will be superseded by new anti-discrimination duties introduced by the Bill. Until these new powers are brought into force, however, the Council will need to take forward the requirements of the LSA. We also believe that providers will want to promote the provision they have put in place to meet the needs of learners with LDD.

Action for the Council

6. The Council will need to:
  • Require all providers to produce disability statements, specifying how frequently the statements are to be published and the kind of information they should contain, and to monitor them.
  • Encourage providers to promote the provision they make for learners with LDD.
  • Encourage providers to adopt good practice in identifying learners with learning difficulties and disabilities and discuss their needs with them.

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Work experience arrangements

7. Under sections 8 and 13 the Council must have regard to the needs of learners with a learning difficulty when providing work experience. Disabled learners often require extra resources when they attend a work experience placement, for example specially adapted hardware, which it may not be possible to borrow from the provider. Learners with LDD often therefore find themselves in a specialist work experience placement (for example a voluntary organisation that caters for disabled people) rather than a mainstream one.

8. During discussion of the SEND Bill in the House of Lords, Baroness Blackstone recognised the need to improve the experience of disabled learners on work experience placements. She made a commitment that Departmental officials would work with Skill, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities on a statement of good practice in terms of the practical steps providers should take to enable disabled learners to gain access to suitable places and to gain successful experience in these places. She also agreed that the Department should work together with the AoC, the Learning and Skills Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council to develop good practice guidance to FE institutions on work experience placements. The Department intends to publish this in the late spring in time to influence action to arrange placements for students who are this autumn starting their college courses.

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Action for the Council

9. The Council will need to: Consider ways of addressing the needs of learners in this area.
Ensure that funding for support is available in all components of programmes wherever they take place.
Work together with the Department, the AoC, the schools sector and the LSDA to develop good practice guidance to providers on work experience placements.
Put in place monitoring arrangements to assess the extent to which learners with LDD are able to benefit from work experience placements.

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Access to Good Quality Provision

10. The Council’s duty under section 13 of the LSA to pay particular regard to the needs of people with learning difficulties reflects similar duties placed on the FEFC. The LSA, however, goes further than the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (FHE Act) in that it also places the Council under a duty to pay particular regard to an assessment under section 140 (see paragraphs 25-29 below).

11. FEFC figures for 1998/99 show that nearly 175,000 students out of a total of 3.5 million council funded students indicated that they had learning difficulties or disabilities. Provision for learners with LDD has significantly improved since the coming into force of the Further and Higher Education (FHE) Act 1992 and it will be important for the Council to ensure that, where positive developments have occurred and examples of good practice exist, these are not lost but are used to help improve provision in other areas. The Council will want to take account of the FEFC’s report to the Secretary of State on progress made by the FEFC for students with LDD during 1999-2000 and its future plans for such students. The Council will also want to take note of the FEFC’s chief inspector’s

in Quality and Standards in Further Education in England 1999-2000 about provision for students with LDD.

12. It is clear from these reports that provision varies significantly between colleges in both quantity and quality. Inspection grades have also shown that provision for students with learning difficulties is of lower quality than that for other learners.

13. In LEA-secured adult and community learning (ACL), LEAs generally monitor the participation of people with LDD for their own purposes, but at present figures are not collated nationally. LEAs are required to produce an annual public statement explaining what steps they take to ensure their ACL provision meets the needs of people with disabilities. These are currently copied to DfEE and a digest of previous good practice is available (see Annex B on further guidance). ACL has an inclusive, flexible and learner-centred ethos which seeks to accommodate all communities of interest and make learning opportunities easily accessible. ACL is often provided through voluntary and community organisations which are sensitive to the needs of under-represented or excluded groups of people. ACL has historically been under-resourced in comparison with further education, particularly with regard to capital, but the new post-16 arrangements will bring greater harmonisation between sectors, which over time will strengthen ACL’s capacity to provide for people with disabilities.

14. Work–Based Learning for Young People requires the effective joint working of partners at both national and local level. The source of statistics on participation by people with disabilities in Modern Apprenticeships [2] (MAs) and Other Training [3] (OT) is the DfEE Trainee Database, with summaries provided by DfEE’s Analytical Services Division. There are almost three times as many people with disabilities training in OT (7%) compared to Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (AMA) (2%). People with disabilities under-perform in terms of positive outcomes compared to non-disabled trainees. For example 57% of disabled trainees were in jobs compared to 72% non-disabled in 1999-2000. Data held on the participation rates of young people with disabilities in training varies considerably due to the differences in the definitions of disability and by the fact that many individuals do not declare disabilities, for a wide range of reasons.

15.The Council should be aware of a publication, A Study of Modern Apprenticeships and People with Disabilities (QFAD Study Report no 84 March 2000), which examines the experiences of young people with disabilities engaged on MAs. The study identifies good practice in helping people with disabilities to enter and successfully complete MAs and other examples which should be used positively to help improve provision. A Modern Apprenticeship Equal Opportunities Action Plan has been developed and agreed with key partners involved in the design and delivery of MAs including representatives from EOC, CRE and ACDET. It identifies actions for partners to raise participation and outcomes in the programme from under-represented groups across all sectors.

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Action for the Council

16. At national level the Council will want to draw up, with appropriate advice:

  • A national framework for gathering data on learners with a learning difficulty or disability.
  • Common benchmarks for all providers to enable them to compare their performance with others. The Council will need to work with national partners to develop and disseminate benchmarking data and performance information, building on existing good practice across the post-16 sector. The Council will wish to work with key partners to help providers understand and use benchmarks.
  • Effective mechanisms for monitoring and review.

17. At a local level, the Council will need to ensure that local Executive Directors have a clear remit to put mechanisms in place to ensure that local providers take forward their responsibilities for ensuring that their provision meets the needs of people with LDD. In order to do this we would expect the Council to ensure each local Council:

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Key first steps:
  • Has a designated senior member of staff whose remit is to oversee, and who will be accountable for, provision for learners with LDD. Councils will want to decide whether the same person should also be responsible for other aspects of Equal Opportunities issues.
  • Carries out a regular audit of provision and support for learners with LDD as well as an audit of what proportion of learners in further education, adult and community learning and work based learning has a learning difficulty and or disability. These results should then be compared nationally and measures set in place to redress local and regional anomalies. It should be possible to use the Individual Learner Record (ILR), which will replace the Individual Student Record (ISR)used if FE, to collect information on disability status for the individual learner. Introduction of the ILR will be phased in at different times for different kinds of provision. In ACL, for example, it will not be in use for at least the first year of the Council’s operation.
  • Ensures, and where necessary assist, providers to collect data on the ethnicity and gender of students with LDD to inform local Councils.
  • Work with Learning Partnerships to improve access to post-16 provision.
  • Work with local education authorities to develop continuity and coherence in transition and to improve provision for adult and community learners
  • Ensures and advises on compliance with disability legislation

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  • Ensures that all providers address the needs of learners with LDD in accordance with the requirements that are set out in the Common Inspection Framework and LSC guidance on self-assessment and development plans.
  • Ensures that all providers comply with specific guidance for learners with LDD and take account of guidance and good practice recommended by the Council. For example, the quality standards in the Tomlinson Report Inclusive Learning are particularly important for FE colleges.
  • Works with Learning Partnerships to encourage collaboration between providers and to promote good practice in respect of learners with LDD.
  • Ensures that the provider base is capable of providing quality provision for learners with learning difficulties, providing support to providers as necessary to meet standards (noting that developing high quality provision may involve the purchase of new premises, developing staff expertise, ensuring that staff working with students with LDD are appropriately trained and qualified, the recruitment of new members of staff etc and that this requires forward planning and funding) [4].
  • Puts in place effective procedures for monitoring and recording students’ progress and achievements.
  • Has arrangements in place for ensuring that sufficient and appropriate support is available for all learners with additional support needs.
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A learner centred approach

Working closely with Learning Partnerships ensures that effective mechanisms are in place to provide feedback from learners and non-learners as well as identifying local learner and community needs. This might include the creation of a users’ forum made up of learners with LDD and/or creation of a multi-agency advisory committee to support this area of work and provide regular on-going consultation.
Encourages providers to put in place applications and admissions procedures that are streamlined and appropriate to the needs of potential learners with LDD.
Takes account of the value of local voluntary and community organisations in eliciting and conveying the needs of learners and potential learners from disadvantaged and excluded groups including those with LDD.

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Provision for under-represented groups

18. In the Learning to Succeed White Paper the Government expressed the wish that the Council provide for all learners including those with the most complex needs. Provision of support for those who have been traditionally under represented, where the need for sensitive arrangements is particularly important. The Inclusive Learning report listed three under-represented groups among people with LDDs in further education:
  • Those with profound and complex learning difficulties
  • Young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • Adults with mental health difficulties

19. Many of these learners require considerable flexibility in delivery if they are to be included in post school education or training. Learners with mental health difficulties or emotional and behavioural difficulties will often, by the nature of their disability, have an erratic pattern of attendance.

20. Measuring progress for learners with severe and complex learning difficulties is not straightforward and involves finding ways of measuring progress that occurs in very small steps. There is currently little research in this area. However, Skill is carrying out a three year lottery funded research project, in conjunction with University of Cambridge School of Education, which is looking at post school learning for people with profound and complex learning difficulties. The research is focussed on four action research sites and one of the issues it will address will be the measurement of progress for this group of learners.

21. The Act also places duties on the Council to secure organised leisure time occupation connected with post-16 education and training. This is particularly important for people with LDD where leisure and recreational facilities have a special significance because they provide opportunities to acquire social independence and mobility skills for use in employment and enable them to participate in the community. (This applies to all learners with learning difficulties.)

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Action for the Council

22. The Council will want to: Ensure that funding mechanisms, recording and reporting mechanisms and quality measures recognise different patterns of attendance.
Ensure that there are flexible ways of measuring retention in order that providers are not penalised for accepting under-represented learners onto learning programmes.
Encourage local councils to monitor access to organised leisure time occupations connected with education and training by people with learning difficulties, in order to ascertain the availability of such provision in the local area and, if necessary, to look at ways of improving such provision.

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Boarding accommodation

23. Under section 13 of the LSA, the Council is responsible for securing residential placements for those people over 16 who can demonstrate that they meet the criteria. Such placements usually take place in specialist residential colleges. The FEFC has published Circular 01/03 on the Council’s behalf. It sets out the criteria against which Council staff will consider requests for residential placement in 2001-02. The Circular also suggests new administrative arrangements. The Council will review procedures prior to publishing its next circular.

Action for the Council

24. The Council will need:
  • To ensure that there is adequate specialist, residential provision available to meet the needs of those people who need it.
  • To review its procedures for the placement of learners at specialist residential colleges in time for revised arrangements to be published in August 2001
  • To publish guidance on its arrangements for appeals against decisions by the Council.
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New Assessment arrangements under section 140 of the LSA (including the Connexions Service)

25. The Council will need to develop close working relations at both national and local level with the new Connexions Service, which is being developed to guide and support all young people through their teenage years and in their transition to adulthood, citizenship and working life. Assessment of need is a key part of the new Connexions Service arrangements and a Framework for Assessment, Planning and Review is being developed for Personal Advisers to use from April 2001. This is designed to produce greater consistency, reduce the burden of assessment on young people and facilitate information sharing between agencies. Personal advisers will seek information on a young person’s educational history and will have information on a young person’s skill levels, which will enable them to make an additional assessment of basic or key skill levels, (such as a statement of SEN). Where this information is not available a more detailed assessment will be carried out. This information should be shared with the education or training provider subject to the young person’s consent. In areas which are not pilot or Phase 1 Connexions areas, the Careers Service will continue to be responsible for enhanced careers support of those leaving school including with the production and implementation of a career action plan which should take account of any assessment or reports that are available to the careers adviser. Guidance has been prepared by the Connexions Service and issued to each local Council.

26. Young people can receive an assessment under section 140 of the LSA up to the age of 25. There are several instances where it is appropriate for young people with a learning difficulty and/or disability to continue in learning beyond 19. These include:

- when a young person’s 19th birthday occurs while they are in the middle of a learning programme
- where a young person has a degenerative condition diagnosed in teens or early adulthood
- where a young person has been disabled in young adulthood (this age group has a very high ratio of motor accident cases)
- where a young person with LDD has recently arrived in the country. In such cases the Personal Adviser will need to call upon a specialist team of people from a variety of agencies to establish holistic support needs.
- where a young person’s disability has caused a developmental delay.

27. The last of these groups ‘where a person’s disability has caused a developmental delay’ is likely to be the largest. A significant minority of young people, particularly those with learning difficulties, require longer in full time learning in order to achieve their chosen goal (whether this is employment and/or a more independent life). Currently many of these young people will stay on at school until they are 19 and then progress to two or more years at college before moving on to training and/or adult and community learning. A rigid distinction between the kind of provision that can be accessed before and after 19 is not appropriate for all learners. Where a clear plan for transition is in place and learners are able to progress through learning programmes to achieve their learning goal this works well. However, this is not always the case and some institutions are not receptive to accepting young people onto a full-time programme over the age of nineteen. This opportunity needs to be open to all learners wherever they happen to live.

28. The Council needs to take into account any assessment that is made by the Connexions Service or the Employment Service. The Council should not be involved in the funding of assessments as between them the Connexions Service and the Employment Service will be responsible for this activity.

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Action for the Council

29. The Council must ensure that local Councils take account of any assessment and will want to:

Ensure local Councils take account of any action plan that is produced by either the Connexions Personal Adviser or, where there is no Personal Adviser in place, the Careers Service Adviser, or the Employment Service.
Enable young people with LDD, who are part way through a learning programme when they reach their 19th birthday, to be able to do so without being charged fees after their 19th birthday. (The Council may also wish to consider whether it might put in place a fee remission system for those with LDD.)
Pay particular regard to the needs of young people with LDD, who need a learning programme to start after their 19th birthday but before they are 25.

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Inter-agency working arrangements – where packages of support are necessary

30. There are currently more options open to learners with more severe learning difficulties than there have been in the past. These might include a package of supported employment, adult and community learning, independent living and social services support. It will be important to distinguish between those learners who genuinely require longer in full-time education and/or training and are working towards clearly defined learning goals and those whose placement is extended merely because there is no appropriate future placement for them when they leave full-time education or training. In the latter case local Councils will need to work closely with other agencies (particularly Social Services Departments and organisations involved with supported employment) to ensure that there are ongoing routes for those with LDD to follow as they move on from full-time learning. It is important that provision meets the needs of the learner. Where individuals with LDD require input from more than one agency there needs to be a holistic long-term plan that encompasses their aspirations for learning and living. The importance of support during transition from college or post school learning to adult life was emphasised in Inclusive Learning. Young people with moderate learning difficulties will also need more time to establish themselves in employment and adult life.

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Actions for the Council

31. The Council will want to:

Ensure that local Councils co-operate and are pro-active in their dealings with the Connexions Service and personal advisers who will link with young people and providers to ensure what was agreed as part of the young person’s assessment is being delivered.
Encourage local Councils to ensure that all providers have a contact point for learners with LDD and Equal Opportunities.
Ensure local Councils work with those responsible for the implementation of the Welfare to Work Joint Investment Plans and the Learning Disability Partnership Boards, to look at the needs of such learners and ways in which supported employment, including the new "WORKSTEP" programme, and intermediate labour market places can meet those needs.

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32. Inadequate transport is a major barrier to access to learning, particularly for learners with LDD who are over 19. LEAs and Social Services have a power to provide transport for disabled adults but do not always use it. Following Ministerial commitments on the reform of FE transport arrangements during the passage of the LSA, the Department has consulted with LEAs and others and drawn up a package of short-term measures to commence in September 2001. The Department will be publishing a circular which will require LEAs to:

co-ordinate collaborative arrangements with local Councils, colleges and others, including Learning Partnerships, with an interest in local transport support in order to provide effective support for learners for whom transport is a barrier or constraint;
assess needs and provision and agree a plan with common transport objectives for use in their areas. In so doing they should respond to any gaps in provision;
publish a policy statement setting out eligibilities and entitlements;
monitor and evaluate provision in relation to access with special emphasis on those with LDD .

33. The Department has contracted with transport specialists, Steer Davis Gleave, to carry out a transport study to inform the medium term development of FE transport support. This places particular emphasis on support for students with LDD. Steer Davis Gleave will map existing provision, run training workshops, provide guidance, which includes good practice materials for use locally, and provide the Department with options for improving support. Outcomes will be available after July/August 2001

34. We hope that the Learning and Skills Council will use its powers in relation to transport to ensure that young people and adults are not denied access to learning purely because they cannot get to where it is taking place. Baroness Blackstone made it clear during discussions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill in the House of Lords, that in operating their transport policies education providers would have to make sure that they did not treat disabled students less favourably than the non-disabled. She also said that the duty to have to consider reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled students are not put at a disadvantage relative to non-disabled students would also apply to transport.

35. Some learners with LDD can learn to access public transport and travel independently with extra support and training. The Council has a real opportunity to make significant progress in the provision of improved mobility training for those who want it. This is a new area which will require the Council to organise its funds and perhaps to work in a more flexible way. It will require people to acquire good practice. The powers of the Council have been set out in order to avoid the ambiguities in the existing powers of the FEFC so that it can assist learners with learning difficulties to benefit from the help that will be available.

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36. The Council will want to:

Encourage local Councils to commit resources to help disabled learners and those with learning difficulties, working with their Learning Partnerships to identify gaps in transport provision.
Encourage local Councils to collaborate with LEAs, Social Services, post-16 providers and others to make the best use of their combined resources for transport in order to ensure that it is not a barrier to provision.
Prioritise and make real progress with the provision of mobility training.

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37. Equality of opportunity, inclusive learning and widening participation are all terms used in this guidance. They are interrelated goals that underpin the Council’s whole approach to learning. The Council’s commitment is for all individuals and groups of people to have equal access to appropriate learning provision, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, age, disability or learning difficulty. Appropriate provision should be capable of meeting each learner’s needs and of leading to a suitable learning outcome and employment or further learning. This approach supports the Government’s aim of an inclusive society where everyone has an equal chance to develop their knowledge and be active in the workforce.

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Relevant provisions in the Learning and Skills Act

Section 2 sets out the duty of the Learning and Skills Council to secure the provision of ‘proper’ facilities for the education and training of people from the age of 16 up to the age of 19. This includes the provision of connected organised leisure time occupation. In carrying out these duties the Council must, among other things, take account of the different abilities and aptitudes of different people.

Section 3 sets out the duty of the Council to secure the provision of ‘reasonable’ facilities for the education and training of people over the age of 19. Otherwise the provisions are similar to section 2.

Section 5 gives the Council powers to secure financial resources for people receiving post-16 education and training; this could cover assistance with fees or charges for education or training or with the cost of such things as transport and childcare.

Section 6, which relates to the provision of resources, allows the Council to attach conditions to funding it provides which require the provider of post-16 education and training to publish statements in respects of its facilities for disabled people. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill provides for the repeal of this section.

Section 8 gives the Council powers to secure provision of work experience for those in their last two years of compulsory schooling and those in education up to the age of 19; and to provide for ‘education business links’ between, on the one hand, the world of work and, on the other, pupils of compulsory school age, young people in education or training up to the age of 19 and teachers.

Section 13 requires the Council to pay particular regard to the needs of people with learning difficulties when performing its duties to secure facilities for education and training under sections 2 and 3, when providing resources for education and training under 5(1)(a) to (d) and (g) and when exercising its powers to secure facilities for work experience under section 8. In particular, the LSC must have regard to a report of an assessment of a person’s needs made under section 140. Learning difficulties are defined at section 13(5). This definition is derived from current provisions for further education in section 4 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

Section 13 also describes the Council's main responsibilities regarding the funding of boarding accommodation for those with learning difficulties. For those between the ages of 16 and 19, the Council must provide boarding accommodation where it is satisfied that it cannot make arrangements for individuals, which are sufficient in quantity and adequate in quality, unless it also secures boarding accommodation. For those between the ages of 19 and 25, the Council must provide boarding accommodation where it is satisfied that it cannot secure the provision of reasonable facilities for individuals unless it also secures boarding accommodation. For those over the age of 25, the Council has a power to make such arrangements if it is satisfied that it cannot secure the provision of reasonable facilities for individuals unless it also secures boarding accommodation.

Section 14 requires the Council to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between people from different racial groups, between men and women, and between people with a disability and people without. It must report annually to the Secretary of State on what arrangements is has made during the preceding year, how effective they were, and its plans for the following year.

Section 140 places a duty on the Secretary of State to make arrangements for an assessment of people under the age of 19 who have SEN statements drawn up by the LEA and where he believes that they are likely to leave school to continue with post-16 education or training or enter higher education. This assessment must be made during the final year of compulsory education and will set out a person’s learning needs and the provision required to meet them. The duty is contained in subsection (1) of section 140. This subsection will not come into force on 1st April 2001; the earliest date it is likely to come into force is anticipated to be 1st April 2002.

This section also gives a power to the Secretary of State to arrange an assessment of any young person who is under the age of 25 where it appears that they may have learning difficulties and where they are undertaking, or the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are likely to undertake post-16 education or training or enter higher education. This is to enable assessments to be made where young people continuing in post-16 education or training develop learning difficulties shortly before or after leaving school and thus do not have an SEN statement. The power applies in respect of people up to age 25, to enable assessments to apply for the duration of a course. This also reflects the fact that some young people with learning difficulties may require longer to complete a course or may begin a course later than their peers.

This section also places a duty on LEAs to provide a copy of a child’s statement of special educational needs, together with any supporting material, to the Secretary of State. This will enable the persons he appoints to carry out his functions to conduct the assessment.

Under section 13, the Council has a particular duty to have regard to the contents of these assessments and the needs of the young person assessed when discharging its functions for those under 25 years of age who have learning difficulties. Section 6(3) makes express provision for the Council to be able to use its powers to fund an institution or provider to impose a condition requiring it to provide for students the learning and support set out in the assessment.

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Extract from the Secretary of State’s Remit letter

"28. Under the Learning and Skills Act, the Council has a specific responsibility to help young people and adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. This has been widely welcomed and the broad remit of the Council will enable it to fund a wide range of provision when considering their particular needs.

29. Clear and robust arrangements must be put in place to ensure that this disadvantaged group of learners have access to suitable provision which meets their needs and, where appropriate, to the additional support they require to undertake it. The Council’s arrangements must also be implemented with sensitivity. Some learners may need to start their education or training later; take longer to complete it than their peers; or may find the applications and admissions processes particularly demanding. I look to the Council to address the needs of this group of learners in a flexible and innovative way. Full account must also be taken of the new assessments for people with learning difficulties introduced in the Learning and Skills Act, and which will be led by the Connexions Service.

30. The Council also has responsibility to secure the provision of boarding accommodation, where facilities provided would otherwise not be proper or reasonable. This may apply where learning needs are more complex or specialised, or where an element of care is also necessary, and will in the main relate to placement at specialist colleges. I expect the Council to work with other local agencies, including social services departments, where packages of care and learning appear the best approach. The Council should develop arrangements for processing applications for boarding provision, in consultation with my Department and others, building on those already in place.

31. Adult Residential Colleges have made a significant contribution to the further education of thousands of individuals over many years. They hold a proud and distinguished place in the history of adult learning in this country. It is vital that they have a secure and thriving place in the new post-16 landscape. I expect the Council to ensure that there are appropriate funding arrangements for these colleges which recognise their unique contribution, and also that there is a proper focus within the Council that recognises the national as well as the more local contribution made by these colleges and similar adult education providers."

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Extract from the Prospectus

" Learners with special needs, learning difficulties and/or disabilities must be supported to ensure that they can achieve their full potential. The LSC will build on the strengths of the current FEFC and TEC systems, as well as the wok of LEAs funding those with special needs through adult and community education. In addition the new support service for young people will secure arrangements for assessing a young person’s special learning needs post-16 and the additional support that is required to meet them. The focus will be on the needs of the individual and we will ensure that the LSC’s funding framework is designed to deal effectively with each individual’s needs."

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Relevant provisions in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill

Chapter II of the Bill places new duties on further and higher education institutions, and LEAs in respect of adult education, community education and youth services provision secured by them. The new duties will place new anti-discrimination duties on the main providers of post-16 education and training. They will mean that providers:

Will not be able to treat disabled students less favourably, without justification, than students who are not disabled; and

Will have to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that people who are disabled are not put at a substantial disadvantage to people who are not disabled in accessing post-16 education.

The duties are anticipatory. The Bill will make it unlawful for institutions to discriminate against disabled people not only in the way they carry out their main business – the provision of education – but also in admissions arrangements and in the wider services they provide for students. So the duties will cover wider services such as accommodation, welfare services, careers advice, leisure and recreational services, and entertainment.

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Annex B: Sources of Information and Good Practice

Adult Learning Inspectorate, Office for Standards in Education, (2001) The Common Inspection Framework for Inspecting Post-16 Education and Training.

Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds, (2001) Ethnicity and Disabilities (looks at the particular needs of disabled people from minority ethnic groups).

Department for Education and Employment, (2000) Secretary of State’s Remit Letter to the Learning and Skills Council.

Department for Education and Employment, (2000) Learning and Skills Council Prospectus Learning to Succeed.

Department for Education and Employment, (1999) Learning to Succeed: a new Framework for post-16 learning.

Department for Education and Employment, Adult Learning Inspectorate, Office for Standards in Education, (2001) Raising Standards in Post-16 Learning: self assessment and development plans.

Department for Education and Employment, (2000) A Study of Modern Apprenticeships and People with Disabilities (Quality Financial Assurance Division Study Report no 84)

Department of Health White Paper, (2001) Valuing People: A New Strategy for People with Learning Difficulties.

Employment Service, (2000) Modernising Supported Employment. Programme Design Document

FEFC Chief inspector’s Report, (2000) Quality and Standards in Further Education in England 1999-2000

Further Education Funding Council, (1996) Inclusive Learning: Report of the Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities Committee. (The Tomlinson Report) HMSO

Anne O’Bryan, Ken Simons, Steve Beyer, and Bob Grove, (2000) A framework for supported employment. Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Jeannie Sutcliffe/NIACE (2000), Guidelines on good practice in disability statements for Local Education Authorities, Adult and Community Learning Team, Department for Education and Employment

Tracey Bignall and Jabeer Butt (2000), Between ambition and achievement. (Young black disabled people’s views and experiences of independence and independent living.) Joseph Rowntree Foundation

SKILL, (1997) Making Connections (a guide for agencies helping young people make the transition from school to adulthood)

SKILL (1997) Successful Transitions: Implementing Sections 5 and 6 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986. (For schools, colleges, LEAs, further education funding councils and social services departments.)

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Annex C: Useful organisations

Association for Supported Employment, Pennine View, Gamblesby, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 1UR

Association of Colleges, 5th Floor, Centre Point, 103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DD

Adult Learning Inspectorate, 3rd Floor, 101 Lockhurst Lane, Coventry CV6 5SF

Commission for Racial Equality, Elliott House, 10-12 Allington Street, London SW1E 5EH

Connexions Service National Unit, Room W407, Moorfoot, Sheffield S1 4PQ

Department for Education and Employment, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

Disability Rights Commission, 7th Floor, 222 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HL

Equal Opportunities Commission, Arndale House, Arndale Centre, Manchester M4 3EQ

Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, 20/21 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QL

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Homestead, 40 Water End, York, YO30 6WP

Learning and Skills Development Agency, 3 Citadel Place, Tinworth Street, London SE11 5EF

Office for Standards in Education, Alexandra House, 33 Kingsway, London WC2B 6SE

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Contact list of Post-16 Disability Consortium

MENCAP, Mencap National Centre, 123 Golden Lane London EC1Y 0RT

NATSPEC, Association of National Specialist Colleges, 21 Westminster Drive, Grimsby, DN34 4TT

RADAR, 12 City Forum, 250 City Road, London EC1V 8AF

RNIB, PO Box 49, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3DG

RNID, 19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL

SCOPE, 6 Market Road, London N7 9PW

SKILL, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London SE1 3JW

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Annex D: List of abbreviations

ACDET Advisory Committee for Disabled People in Employment and Training
ACL Adult and Community Learning
AMA Advanced Modern Apprenticeship
CRE Commission for Racial Equality
Council The Learning and Skills Council
DfEE Department for Education and Employment
EOC Equal Opportunities Commission
FEFC Further Education Funding Council
FHE Act Further and Higher Education Act 1992
LDD Learning difficulty and/or disability
LSA Learning and Skills Act 2000
MA Modern Apprenticeship
OT Other Training
QFAD Quality Financial Assurance Division, DfEE
SEND Bill Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill

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1: A person has a learning difficulty if:
(a) he has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of persons of his age, or
(b) he has a disability which either prevents or hinders him from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided by institutions providing post-16 education or training.
2: Modern Apprenticeships now = Foundation Modern Apprenticeships (level 2) and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (level 3).
3: The Secretary of State recently announced that Other Training would be phased out by September 2002.
4: Based on paragraph 8b) of Appendix 3.8 of the Learning and Skills Council’s Operations Guidance.

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