We support Association of Colleges in their call for equal funding for all students at every level of their education journey. A recent Linked In post by David Holloway (Association of Colleges' senior policy manager – SEND) highlighted how the Government's green paper on SEND and Alternative Provision ignores a large number of students.
"They may just need to share an assistant with their peers, or to have some extra mentoring out of class. They may be students who have been identified as having dyslexia, or ADHD, or anxiety conditions. Their needs may not be “high” but their needs are very real, and a little bit of support can make a gigantic difference to their learning and their outcomes."
In HE we are lucky to have Disabled Students' Allowances. This is a complex and flawed system, however it does mean that needs assessments are related to the impact of any condition on study, rather than by rating a level of need. Some students may only receive some software while others receive a package of support including travel allowance, 1:1 Study Skills or Mentoring support, Assistive Technology etc. Each person gets what they personally need. Many young people arriving in HE have never received such support, whether from school or college, or even realise they may be entitled to it. There are multiple layers to this issue.
There must be more who are at risk of not getting to uni at all because their needs are unmet at a lower level of study.
Not only does this have direct impact on the students themselves, and college staff, but it also increases the complexity of need presenting in Higher Education. One aspect our members have been discussing this week is how a large number of students are struggling with anxiety, and needing support from uni MH services while awaiting diagnosis for Autism/ADHD or Specific Learning Difficulties.
All levels of education support need to be joined up to ensure all students reach their full potential.
UMHAN Charity Manager
Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash