ASCL comment on UCAS report about the educational experience of disabled students

Kevin Gilmartin, post-16 specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the UCAS report about the experience of disabled students in education.
We wholeheartedly support the call by UCAS for more support for the transition of disabled students to higher education and apprenticeships through the extension of Adjustment Passports. We also think that the findings of this report show the pressing need for better funding for colleges and sixth forms to support these young people.

“Schools and colleges will be concerned to see that only 17% of disabled students say they have access to inclusive extra-curricular activities. Everybody in education cares deeply about ensuring that young people with disabilities are fully supported and included in all aspects of the curriculum. 

“The problem for schools and colleges is that the funding they receive from the government is simply insufficient and extra-curricular activities are run on a shoestring, which means staffing and other resources are very tight. Despite the best efforts of schools and colleges, this may affect the level of support that can be provided and could be why a large proportion of disabled students do not feel that activities are inclusive.

“According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, even with additional government funding in last year’s spending review, college funding per pupil in 2024–25 will still be around 10% below 2010–11 levels, while school sixth-form funding per pupil will be 23% below 2010–11 levels. Core provision is challenging on these funding levels let alone any form of extended provision.