A Right not a Fight
QAC is proud to be a member of Natspec - The Association of National Specialist Colleges. Natspec have recently launched a campaign for true equality in education and we are very happy to support this. Please continue reading to learn more about this particular campaign and the ways in which you might be able to help.
Every day we hear from young people and their families who are desperate for information. They want to know how to get the education and resources that they need, how to find answers to their questions and why every step on their journey has to be a fight.
For over two years Natspec and specialist colleges, along with parents’ groups, other charities and organisations such as the Association of Colleges, have been working on a new legislation, the Children and Families Act. We have been talking to government to help them to understand the very real concerns of our young people and to make sure that the Act means that every young person can get the education they deserve.
The Act will come in to effect in September but there is still work to be done. It will take time for the changes to filter through to every part of the country. In the meantime young people with some of the most complex needs are missing out.
They tell us that they are not allowed to attend the college of their choice, that they are denied support and that they feel as if barriers are put in their way at every turn.
For example one LA policy states that:
For each individual post 16 High Needs placement, we must follow a process of looking at mainstream options in GFE colleges first, then LA maintained Special Schools, if these local options cannot meet the needs, we would look for an independent school or college day placement.
Parents tell us they are not even allowed to visit specialist colleges
We have twice arranged and then cancelled visits to an outstanding specialist college. Both times we were at first discouraged and then, subsequently warned off attempting to send our daughter there as we were told by the LA she would not get funding for 'out of county' education as her needs can be adequately met locally. We stumbled on 'Specialist Colleges' almost by accident. The LA seems determined that we should forget them”.
Some of the students who have succeeded in getting their place at a specialist college have come up with a name for their campaign for true equality in education
A Right Not a Fight
Natspec is helping them to organise a series of events and activities to draw attention to these problems, and we need your support.
On 17 June we will be launching the new Natspec directory outside the Houses of Parliament. We are asking as many young people, their families and their supporters to join us and get their copy of the directory. This will give them information on every specialist college in the country and enable them to make informed choices about what is in their best interests. We will use the event to draw the attention of national and local politicians, and the media, to the very real problems within the system.
We need people to:
- Join us in London on 17 June at Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament from 1.30pm to 3pm - the more voices we have, the greater our chance of being heard
- Spread the word about the event to encourage more people to come
- Lobby your MP and ask them to attend the event to hear young people’s stories first hand
- Share your own experiences so we can give real life examples to national, regional and local media
Help us to make sure that the Children and Families Act delivers its aspiration of a meaningful choice of education for every young person.