Review of Post-18 Education and Funding - Statement Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:33 pm on 20th February 2018

Review of Post-18 Education and Funding - Statement Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:33 pm on 20th February 2018

Lord Addington, Liberal Democrat 7:33 pm, 20th February 2018

My Lords, the review had some very interesting things in it. I must give the Government some credit for the best back-down I have ever read in any document:

“Many elements of our current post-18 education system work well”— if ever there was a way of saying some do not. I have never heard of anything like it before. The section on “A system that is accessible to all” talks about those with a disadvantaged background. I draw the House’s attention to my declared interests with the British Dyslexia Association and as a chairman of Microlink. We have a situation where disabled students have different provisions made at different universities doing the same courses. Are the Government going to make sure in the review that there is some way of allowing a student to know what is effectively happening to those disabled students, particularly those who do not qualify for the disabled students’ allowance, as there is currently a very confused system? The Government have refused to put in any outside quality control on them, saying that they will all make their own way forward. Will there be something in the review that dictates that you will know the type of support you will get?

Also, as the old provisions of the old system mean that the level 1 and level 2 provision of the four-band system are now provided by the institution, how well do they function with the DSA? Will this be made available? Will all those colleges undertaking any degree tuition be brought into this system so that people can find out what they are going to get? If you want anything that is market-driven to be effective you have to have knowledge of that market for those who access it. At the moment it is confused and almost like a quagmire. Unless the Government can tell us that they are addressing that in some way, they will still continue not to achieve.

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