Campaigners have called for action over the number of young disabled people who are not in mainstream education, employment or training.
The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) said political parties should stop ignoring the segregation and exclusion of disabled learners from mainstream education.
ALLFIE said 27 per cent of disabled 19-year-olds were not in education, employment or training, compared with nine per cent of non-disabled 19-year-olds, while 45 per cent of disabled children with statements of special educational needs were in special schools.
In its own election manifesto, ALLFIE called for a long-term plan to secure an inclusive education system in which “every learner has a legal right to participate in mainstream education regardless of impairment or health condition”.
It also wants: all disabled learners to have the right to individualised support; all education buildings to be accessible; mainstream courses to be accessible and include positive images of disabled people and their history and culture; compulsory disability equality training for all education staff; and all assessments and accreditations to be inclusive.
Tara Flood, chief executive of ALLFIE, said: “Inclusive education is a social justice issue because it creates a society that values all equally – not only does it benefit disabled students, but all students, because they learn the strength of diversity and equality, lose their fear of difference, and develop empathy for others.”
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has also issued an election manifesto, which includes a call for prospective MPs to help set up a new all party parliamentary group for young disabled people.
Laura Merry, a member of the charity’s Trailblazers network of young disabled campaigners, said: “Too often our needs are overlooked – I want MPs to care as much about these issues as I do and an all party parliamentary group is the perfect vehicle for change.”
MDC also wants prospective MPs to pledge to work with their local Trailblazer representatives to improve access to local education, transport and leisure services.
And the manifesto calls on them to pledge to help improve health services for people with neuromuscular conditions.
8 April 2010