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|08 Jul 2015|
EIS-FELA (Further Education Lecturers’ Association) President John Kelly said, “The results of this national survey of ASN provision in Scotland’s colleges clearly indicate a significant decline in ASN provision for students since the Government began implemented funding cuts for FE colleges four years ago. The evidence from this EIS-FELA survey shows that it is the students who both require and deserve specialist additional support that are suffering the deepest and most damaging consequences of funding cuts. Continued funding cuts have led to a systematic reduction in ASN activity and a reduction in total college capacity to support ASN students – the most vulnerable students in society. The sad truth is that cuts to ASN provision make it far more difficult, if not impossible, for many of these learners to access education at all.”
He added, “The Survey also identifies an alarming range in the amount of ASN provision different FE regions provide, which raises serious equality concerns. For example, Dundee College had 699 DPG18 (ASN) students in 2012-13 whilst Aberdeen College had 240, despite being a much larger college. In the same year; West Lothian College, Aberdeen College and Anniesland College all delivered similar amounts of DPG18 ASN activity despite significant differences in their size and geographic footprint. ASN provision is erratic and it would seem purely historical, with no nationwide planning, that the levels of support ASN students receive is dependant mainly on where they live. For Learners with ASN, potentially having to travel to an institution in another part of the country can present a significant barrier to their access to education.”
A More Socially Just Country”
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland is a user led group that works with people with learning disabilities from all over the country. In the run up to the referendum, we held 52 workshops involving over 700 people with learning disabilities looking at the issues that were being raised and helping people understand what the decision might mean for them.
Since the referendum we have held 5 focus groups with 64 people with learning disabilities and their carers to talk about what the referendum meant for them and what more powers. if any, they would like for Scotland.
There were 2 consistent messages that came across from all the groups.
1. The new powers that are being suggested are a chance to put the means for delivering social justice into the hands of the people of Scotland.
2. This is an opportunity to reach a good settlement that can bring together everyone in Scotland whether they voted Yes or No.
We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest newsletter dated October 2014. You can listen to it online here
You can read the articles online by clicking on the following links
Article One - This looks at the wider implications of the closure of an Edinburgh service for young adults with special needs. Issues such as Policy Rush, Cherry Picking and Give Back are looked at. Read it here.
Article Two - This is part of our long running campaign for the ending of care charges. We reveal that 23 councils in Scotland charge people in poverty, making their living situations intolerable. Read it here.
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland is pleased to announce its major new conference on the crisis that many people with learning disabilities are experiencing in care, support and managing the cost of living. We would be grateful if you could share this information with members and service users that you know so they can make the choice to come to the conference.
The day is a chance for people with learning disabilities and their families to look at the challenges in their lives that is making life hard. From changes to eligibility criteria to get social care to the rise in charges for getting support and help, we will look at the different things that make life difficult. We will look for what we can do to find some answers to these challenges
The conference will be mostly for people with learning disabilities from all over Scotland. There will be some carers and parents of people with more profound disabilities there too. We will also be inviting a small number of politicians, officials and professional staff so they can hear more about what people are saying and can help us in finding some solutions.
We are collecting the views of people with learning disabilities to tell the Commission tasked with agreeing more powers for the Scottish Parliament what they think should happen. The Smith Commission , led by Lord Smith of Kelvin, is asking lots of people what they think to help with writing a Bill. This would start the process of handing more powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Lord Smith of Kelvin said: “Following the referendum we have a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s main political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament, within the UK. My job is to create a process through which politicians, civic institutions and the Scottish public can come together, work together and agree the detail of what those powers should be.”