Natspec has published its manifesto for the 2019 General Election, “Valuing specialism; realising potential”. It calls on political parties and parliamentary candidates to commit to supporting further education for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities in three areas:
- high quality education and training
- a system that works for young people
- brighter futures.
Clare Howard, Natspec’s Chief Executive, said “We want the next government to commit to supporting specialism in further education, so that young people with learning difficulties and disabilities can achieve their potential. The SEND reforms in England and similar legislation in Wales include ambitious plans for transformational change, but the system is failing young people and their families. We now need to act so that the vision becomes a reality and the system delivers on the good intentions of the reforms.”
Three key areas
Natspec is calling on all parties and parliamentary candidates to sign up to the following pledges.
Access to quality further education
- Investment at national level into developing the FE workforce, including hubs for specialist expertise
- A requirement for strategic planning by local authorities and a regional approach to commissioning specialist services, involving all post-16 providers
A system that works for young people
Which lives up to the vision of the legislation.
- Increased high needs funding available to support those aged 16 to 25, and a simplified funding system
- Better accountability, in line with the recommendations of the recent Education Select Committee report
- Reduced bureaucracy by creating standardised paperwork across all local authorities
- Training for young people to understand their legal rights and help them become more self-determining
So that young people can go on to lead happy and fulfilled lives, living as independently as possible with paid employment where appropriate.
- New national standards for transition from school to FE and from FE to post-college life
- Training for specialist careers advisers to improve careers information, advice and guidance
- Address the disincentives to work within the benefits system
- Investment in housing, adult social services and employment support for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.