The setting up of the national Learning and Skills Council was
meant to make it easier for people with learning difficulties to go
But as more and more people – in particular those with higher
support needs – are choosing the option of further education, the
issue of who is going to pay for it is beginning to rear its
The Learning and Skills Council is concerned that some of the
cash it earmarks for education and training is actually being spent
on care packages.
Perhaps not unreasonably, it wants local authorities and primary
care trusts to pick up the tab for this instead.
This is all very well in theory but given that local authorities
are so hard up and PCTs are facing a major shake-up, the chance of
either of them coming up with the cash is nearly zero.
So the Learning and Skills Council needs to tread very carefully
and not rush into pulling the plug on funding. Otherwise the effect
will be the opposite of its original intention and fewer instead of
more people with learning difficulties will get a crack at
improving their life chances through further education.