YOUNG adults with learning disabilities from Foxes Academy in Minehead took part in the launch of a national campaign at Old Palace Yard, opposite the Houses of Parliament, on Tuesday (June 17).
They were there to highlight the need for educational equality for young people with a learning difficulty or disability.
Academy patron Rosa Monckton supported the students who voiced their concern about funding cuts by telling MPs, peers and the media their stories.
The ‘A Right not a Fight’ campaign, set up by Natspec (The Association of National Specialist Colleges), calls for young people with a disability to have the right to choices that most young people take for granted.
Recent changes to the funding system and the approach taken by many local authorities means students and families are struggling to make the most of opportunities promised in the new Children and Families Act.
Director Maureen Tyler-Moore, MBE said: “Our country’s most vulnerable young people are at the mercy of short-term thinking.
“Over 88% of Foxes Academy’s learners from the past 5 years have got jobs after leaving us, with 85% going on to live semi-independently.
“Learners with disabilities deserve the choice to attend the college that enables them to reach their full potential.
“To become young adults who are valued members of their communities who achieve meaningful employment, independent living and a happy social life.”
One learner said: “When I started here at Foxes I was 17-years-old.
“I was quite young.
“To get new funding there was a battle at the end of my second year.
“It took months and it was really stressful and worrying as well.
“It was complicated and took a long time for the Local Authority to make up their mind.
“Now I am over the moon to have another year here.
“It will give me more support to have a good future with a job and a place to live with my friends.”