Bishop of Ely asks Government about educational support for disabled young people

Ely 2On 31st October 2016, the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Rev Stephen Conway, received a written answer from Lord Nash (Department for Education), to a question about educational support and careers advice provided to disabled young people.

Lord Bishop of Ely: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that schools, further education colleges and universities are able to provide specialist careers advice and support for disabled young people.

Lord Nash: Good careers education and guidance should give all young people, including those with disabilities, access to the information they need to make informed decisions. That is why we are investing £90 million over this Parliament to improve careers provision for young people.

Careers advice for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) should be based on high aspirations and a personalised approach. Schools and colleges have a legal duty to secure independent careers guidance. This duty applies to all young people up to and including the age of 18 in schools and colleges, and 19- to 25-year-olds in colleges with an Education Health and Care Plan. The 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice makes it clear that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood, and that this preparation should start early.

Local authorities retain their legal responsibility, under section 68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, to make available support that it considers appropriate to encourage, enable and assist the participation of young people in education or training. For individuals with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, this applies up to the age of 25. Schools and colleges should make use of the local offer published by the local authority that must set out details of SEND provisions in their area – including the full range of post-16 education and training options, and support in preparing for adulthood.

In his latest guidance, the Director of Fair Access encourages higher education institutions, through their access agreements, to consider what more they can do to support students with disabilities. This includes considering students’ differing needs to access higher education, succeed in their studies and progress towards appropriate postgraduate study and employment. Higher education institutions are also subject to requirements in the Equality Act 2010. They have clear duties and responsibilities to ensure that disabled students do not face discrimination or less favourable treatment when applying to, and studying in, higher education.

The National Careers Service provides free, up-to-date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England for everyone, including those with disabilities.

We publish destination measures that show the percentage of young people continuing their education in schools, further education colleges, sixth form colleges or higher education institutions. These measures also include apprenticeships and show the percentage who went into employment or training, and those who were not in education, employment or training. The data is also broken down by student characteristics, including the destinations of children with special educational needs leaving key stage 4. This will provide more transparent information on how each school is helping children with disabilities to make the transition into post-16 education, training or employment.