§ Sir John Hannam
To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the review of further and higher education announced in the White paper "Ending Discrimination Against Disabled People".
§ Mr. Boswell
The Government introduced in 1992 as part of the Further and Higher Education Act comprehensive provisions covering students with disabilities in further and higher education. We shall be considering carefully the points raised in debates on the Disability Discrimination Bill. Additionally, as promised, we will be reviewing the effectiveness of education legislation in meeting the needs of these students.
This review builds on the achievements of colleges, universities and the funding councils in increasing provision for students with disabilities in further and higher education. It offers us a chance to work with the funding councils, representative bodies for higher education and organisations for the disabled to ensure that the legislative framework meets the needs of students with disabilities, and to consider appropriate proposals for practical action.
The review will be wide ranging including:—in higher education, how the new flexibility in capital spending can be used to improve facilities for students with disabilities.—ways in which the arrangements for increasing further education college staff's awareness of the needs of students with disabilities can be improved and whether inspections of the quality of provision for these students can be strengthened.—considering whether any further funding incentives could be given to colleges to encourage the enrolment of students with disabilities and if any related guidance could be offered.—the administration of the disabled student's allowances to see whether more needs to be done to raise awareness of their purpose and availability.—the advice and information service provided by Skill—the National Bureau of Students with Disabilities.—considering whether the charters for further and higher education can be improved in respect of availability of information to students with disabilities.
Copies of the review programme have been placed in the Library.