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2016 National Disabled Members' Conference
16 June 2016
Carried as Amended

Conference agrees that access to further and higher education benefits not only the student, but society as whole.

We especially note that for disabled people whether at sixth form level or already in work, further and higher education for a disabled person helps to level the playing field and expands disabled access to levels it has not yet attained.

It is therefore essential that UNISON disabled members participate in a campaign to halt and then reverse actual or proposed cuts that make it more difficult for disabled people to access education including cuts to Disability support in mainstream colleges, Disability Employment Support Colleges and the funding of Disabled Students in Further and Higher Education.

Conservative Government plans to cut this funding will make it more difficult for disabled students to access the specialised support they need to gain the NVQ level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications currently provided by Disability Employment Support Colleges

Conference recognises and appreciated the previous Government support for disabled students in both mainstream and specialised education.

Conference welcomes UNISON’s long term policy of integrating disabled people into mainstream education but recognise that this cannot be achieved overnight. Disability Employment Support Colleges should only be closed if, and when, there is high quality, fully funded, properly supported alternatives are available.

Now the government wants to cut the Amount Disabled Students Allowance and Students Grant for Disabled Students in Further Education and Higher Education. This will affect Students on the Coursework, Books and Accommodation and Living Allowances.

Conference instructs the National Disabled Members Committee to call on the present Government to put more resources into colleges that cater for disabled people as well as fully funding training and achieved full employment for disabled people. Work with other appropriate UNISON committees, including Labour Link, to lobby the Government to put more resources into colleges that provide for disabled people, as well as fully funding training to achieve increased employment for disabled people.

We further call on the NDMC to raise awareness of this issue and to gain the support of regions and branches to fight these detrimental cuts and support disabled people, and report back to the NDMC 2017 on the progress made.

We also call on the NDMC to work with the NEC and Higher Education Service Group to campaign for the Government to hold a full, disabled people led, review the provision of and support for support disabled people in higher and further education.