Protesters Want Course Back

Members of the Learning Disability Support Group have staged a protest outside Salisbury College as part of their ongoing fight to get more than 100 disabled students reinstated after their college Pathways courses were scrapped at the end of last term. The group is looking to Salisbury leading a national protest over education for students with learning disabilities following changes in the way funding is provided. College spokeswoman Jacqui Udy said college bosses are “disappointed” that the protest took place when the “focus of the debate has moved on”.

She said: “Many local people are aware that the closure of the Pathways course has been echoed in colleges across the country as colleges are duty bound to adjust their provision to ensure that it continues to meet the priorities set by the Government to ensure that the country’s skills needs are met.

“The debate in Wiltshire, and across the country is not about the closure of the Pathways course and others like it, but about how communities can provide good quality support for adults with learning difficulties without using educational budgets to provide high levels of care support.

“Wiltshire county council is fully aware of the issue and is holding minuted discussions and debates regarding a county-wide strategy to provide support for adults with learning difficulties “The college and the Learning and Skills Council continue to meet with members of the church, with community representatives, local authority departments and other groups who are all working together to establish common ground on this issue.”

Ms Udy said the college continues to welcome all learners with disabilities who are able to benefit from the education and qualification framework in place.