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Further Education: Sight Impaired

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure adequate funding is available for further education training courses for those who are visually impaired; and if he will make a statement. (244204)

Learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) are a priority for public funding. This was recently reaffirmed through the Government’s grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for 2009-10 (November, 2008). This sets out how the LSC will continue to develop the support and provision available to these learners, in line with the vision described in the Learning for Living and Work strategy that people with LDD have access to and experience of post-19 learning that is equal to that experienced by their peers without LDD.

Learning providers are required by the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled learners do not experience barriers to learning. Such adjustments can be funded through the college or providers’ mainstream allocation for adults and/or young people, or through the Additional Learning Support Fund (ALS) which provides higher levels of support to meet specific needs. Visually impaired learners are frequently the beneficiaries of this fund.

Each region will have an LLDD strategy describing what the priorities are for the region in line with an analysis of need. The combination of better planning to meet local need and the funding secured through ALS budget are the main steps to ensure there is adequate funding to meet the needs of those with visual impairment.