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Policy Archive

A selection of Skill policy articles - most recent first

Independence, well being and choice the future of adult social care in England

The Department of Health published a green paper that discusses how social care should work for adults in the future. It included proposals to develop direct payments and introduce individual budgets. Skill was disappointed that there was not more discussion about the role that education has in the delivery of social care.

You can read our full response here:


[Posted 18th October 2005]

Skill response to draft codes for the Disability Equality Duty

The Disability Equality Duty places new duties on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. Further and higher education institutions will also be covered by a specific duty, and will be required to produce a Disability Equality Scheme.

Skill has provided comments on the draft codes of practice for the Disability Equality Duty, which were produced by the DRC. The final codes are expected to be published in early 2006, to give public authorities time to implement the duties for December 2006.

There is also likely to be separate guidance for further and higher education institutions. The draft codes of practice are available on the DRC website, Skill's response to the draft codes is available here.

DfES 14-19 White Paper

Following Sir Mike Tomlinson's working group recommendations on 14-19 curriculum reform, the government responded to the recommendations through its white paper on 14-19 reform.

The government has not opted to move towards a full diploma system, choosing only to adopt diplomas for vocational subjects, which has been unpopular with many people in the education sector. You can read Skill's response to the government's paper here

To read the 14-19 White Paper, please see

DfES Skills White Paper

Skills: getting on in business, getting on at work, is the second national skills strategy paper from the DfES, following an earlier paper published in July 2003.

The new skills white paper looks at how the DfES can ensure that people have the skills to be employable and personally fulfilled.

The White Paper is available on the Internet at Skill made a number of recommendations to the White Paper, to ensure that the White Paper addresses the current under-employment of disabled people. You can read Skill's response here.

Children's Trusts

The Government is developing the idea of children's trusts, which will facilitate inter-agency cooperation, eg social services, health and education, for the benefit of children and young people.

There has recently been a consultation about this, including details of workforce reform and a common assessment framework. Skill responded to the consultation and you can read our response here.

[Posted 7th May 2005]

QCA - A framework for achievement

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is proposing a new framework for achievement, which will link qualifications together to provide simpler and more flexible progression and achievement routes.

The proposed framework can be downloaded from the QCA website,

Skill welcomes the new proposals, but also thinks that the framework should reflect the DDA and needs of disabled students more. You can read our response here.

[Posted 7th May 2005]

Compact Code of Practice on Volunteering

The NCVO has published a draft Compact Code of Practice on Volunteering, which Skill responded to. Skill recommended that there be more mention of the involvement of disabled volunteers. You can read our full response here.

[Posted 7th May 2005]

Investing in Skills: Taking forward the Skills Strategy

The Learning and Skills Council published a consultation response about fees, funding and learner support in further education. You can read Skill's response here.

[Posted 7th May 2005]

Disability Discrimination Bill gains Royal Assent

Skill is very pleased that the Disability Discrimination Bill has been passed. The new Act will amend the existing DDA and will enter legislation as the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.

The 2005 Act

• Widens the definition of disability, to include people with progressive conditions such as MS, HIV and some cancers from the point of diagnosis and removes the requirement for mental health conditions to be clinically well recognised

• Places new duties on all public bodies, requiring them to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people and encourage their participation in public life

• New specific duties for listed bodies, including schools, further and higher education institutions and funding bodies, to produce and implement disability equality schemes

• Includes general examination awarding bodies in the DDA part 4, ensuring that disabled students are not treated less favourably when undertaking exams, eg A Levels, and that appropriate reasonable adjustments are made

• Improves disabled people's access to trains and buses, including an end-date for modifications of 2020

While Skill is disappointed that the Bill was amended in its late stages to remove the extension of coverage for a wider group of people with depression, we welcome the Government's commitment to review how the social model can be incorporated into the DDA.

Skill welcomes the changes that the new Act will bring and hopes that it will be a driving force for change, ending previous exemptions and promoting institutional change.

Skill has been part of the New Spirit Coalition of disability organisations, organised by RADAR, which has been campaigning on the new Act and ensuring that it was passed before the end of the current Parliament. You can read the NSC's press release about the new Act here.

[Posted 30th April 2005]

Education and Skills Committee inquiry into Every Child Matters

Skill has submitted written evidence to this Education and Skills Committee inquiry.

We have focused on the areas of integrated services, listening to children and young people, and the creation, management and sharing of records.

You can read our response here.

For more information about the inquiry, see the UK Parliment website here.

[Posted 19th December 2004]

DfES specific learning difficulties working group

The DfES specific learning difficulties working group, which has been meeting for a year to discuss suitable arrangements for diagnosing dyslexia, dyspraxia, discalculia and AD(H)D for the purposes of Disabled Students Allowances.

You can read the group's draft report at:

Skill has been involved in the group, and has also reponded to the draft report. Our response is here

[Posted 19th December 2004]

Public Sector Duty for disability equality

The Government is proposing to implement a positive duty on public bodies to eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.

Skill has responded to the consultation which the Government produced about this, entitled 'delivering equality for disabled people'. You can read our response here

For more information about the public sector duty and what it will mean, click here.

[Posted 19th December 2004]

A new Commission for Equality of Human Rights

The Government is proposing to merge the existing Commissions (DRC, CRE and EOC) into one equalities commission with the new strands of equality law of age, religious belief, and sexual orientation.

The Department of Trade and Industry have recently had a consultation on the new Commission, which is availalbe on the Internet at Skill has responded to the consultation and you can read our respnose here.

[Posted 20th September 2004]

Improving the life chances of disabled people

The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, within the Cabinet Office, has completed an interim report about improving the life chances of disabled people, which includes information about education, transition and employment.

Skill resoponded to the report by outlining the main issues facing disabled students and jobseekers. You can find the interim report here here, and read Skill's response here.

[Posted 20th September 2004]

Ian Russell Commission

The Russell Commission, a group set up by Government to develop youth volunteering and engagement, recently asked Skill for input on ways to encourage and engage young people in volunteering.

This is a preliminary questionnaire to inform a larger consultation they wish to carry out in the Autumn. You can read more about the Commission on their website, Skill's response is available to read here.

[Posted 20th September 2004]

Disabled students able to claim housing benefit on campus

The Social Security (Students and Income-related Benefits) Amendment Regulations 2004 (Statutory Instrument No. 1708) will come into force in August/September 2004. The amended regulations include a measure to amend the Housing Benefit (HB) Regulations to enable HB payments to be made to students for accommodation owned by educational establishments if students meet other eligibility criteria (eg lone parents, eligible for disability premium). Previously, accommodation owned by an educational establishment was excluded from HB regulations.

The full text of the statutory instrument is available at:

[Posted 26th July 2004]

Higher Education Act

The HE Bill has now been given Royal Assent and therefore has become the Higher Education Act. Text of the Act can be found at: Skill and the RNIB successfully lobbied the Lords to obtain amendments to the Act to:

•     Ensure that any disabled student taking a complaint about disability discrimination to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) would have the time limit of 6 months in which they have to lodge a court case under the DDA extended by 2 months if appropriate.

•   Ensure that Access Plans in England (but, unfortunately not in Wales) include the promotion of HE and equality of opportunity to HE.

We also ensured that a letter was placed in the House of Lords Library ensuring that complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) about academic standards where institutions have failed to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled student would be legitimate.

[Posted 26th July 2004]

Joint Committee supports Skill's recommendations

Read Skill's recommendations here.

[Posted 14th June 2004]

Learning and Skills Council National Equality and Diversity Strategy

Read Skill's response here. You can download the LSC strategy by clicking here (

[Posted 14th May 2004]

Working together: a strategy for the voluntary and community sector and the Learning and Skills Council

Skill has responded to this consultation from the LSC. You can read our response here. The original consultation document can be downloaded by clicking here. (

[Posted 14th May 2004]

Measuring success in the Learning and Skills Sector

The LSC have produced a consultation paper on new measures of success for FE colleges, work-based learning providers, adult learning providers and school sixth forms from 2005. The document proposes improved ways of measuring value added and distance travelled, learner satisfaction and destinations, and the long-term benefits of learning. The document can be read here. (

Read Skill's comments on the proposals here.

[Posted 14th May 2004]

Towards a unified e-learning strategy

The Government published a consultation on developing an e-learning strategy which can be read here ( Skill welcomes the government's initiatives in e-learning overall, particularly as e-learning may help remove the barriers to learning faced by some disabled people. However, Skill did express concerns in our response about access to relevant technology and guarding against assumptions that e-learning is appropriate for all disabled people. Read more of our response here.

[Posted 14th May 2004]

Draft Disability Discrimination Bill

Skill has submitted evidence to the scrutiny committee of the draft disability discrimination bill. Read our evidence here here:
Skill evidence

More information about the draft bill and the members of the scrutiny committee can be found here:
[Posted 11th March 2004]

Guidance on intellectual copyright and recording of lectures
Skill, NATFHE and the DRC have produced joint guidance on intellectual copyright and recording lectures to ensure that institutions are able to put in place reasonable adjustments to enable disabled students to record lectures without falling foul of a lecturer's intellectual property rights. We hope that this guidance will be adopted as good practice by all institutions in order that all disabled students have equal access to lectures.
Download guidance here (MS Word)
[Posted 22nd December 2003]

Skill's response to the DRC draft codes of practice for the amended DDA part 2, which will come into force in October 2004. There are two codes of practice - one for employment and occupation and a second for trade organisations and qualifications bodies.
Employment and occupation draft code of practice - Skill's response
Trade organisations and qualifications bodies draft code of practice - Skill's response
[Posted 11th December 2003]

Every Child Matters - children and young person's Green Paper

Skill has responded to the recent Green Paper (
and you can
read our response here
[Posted 11th December 2003]

Admissions to Higher Education
Professor Steven Schwartz, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University is undertaking a review of what factors HEIs should consider when assessing the merits of applicants to their courses. The recent consultation document on the review of admissions to higher education looked at key issues underlying admissions processes for all students. You can read the consultation on the Internet at
Read Skill's response here

[Posted 11th December 2003]

Special Arrangements in Examinations - revised regulatory criteria
Read Skill's response to QCA's (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) revised regulatory criteria here. More information about about the QCA can be found on the Internet at:
Read Skill's response here [MS Word]
[Posted 19th November 2003]

14-19 Reform
Mike Tomlinson's working party which is looking at reform of 14-19 education recently issued a discussion paper for consultation. The full consultation document can be found at:
Read Skill's response here [MS Word]
[Posted 19th November 2003]

21st Century Skills
Skill has responded to the government's consultation on the National Skills Strategy, 21st Century Skills. The original full document can be downloaded from:
Read Skill's response here [MS Word]
[Posted 19th November 2003]

Response to the DRC Consultation on a new strategic plan
Skill has responded to the DRC Consultation Document 'A Focus on Change', which looks at developing a new strategic plan for the DRC for 2004/5 to 2006/7.
Read Skill's response to 'A Focus on Change' here [MS Word]
[Posted 20th October 2003]

Amendments to the DDA Part 2 (Employment)
Following the discussion of the amendments to Part 2 of the DDA to include work placements as part of a vocational work programme and qualifications bodies, Skill became concerned that not all work placements would be covered by the DDA, and that general examinations bodies that award GCSEs and GCE 'A Levels' would not be covered by the regulations concerning qualifications bodies. We therefore prepared a briefing on each of these issues to send to Baroness Hollis, who led the discussion in the House of Lords, outlining why it is essential that these areas come under the provision of the DDA.
Read the briefing on Work Placements here [MS Word]
Read the briefing on Examinations Bodies here [MS Word]
[Posted 20th October 2003]

International Students with Disabilities
Skill has been working with UKCOSA, The Council for International Education, to put together some notes on good practice in working with international students with disabilities in higher education. There is also a paper on Frequently Asked Questions for International Officers. These are now available on the Skill website:
Notes on Good Practice in Working with International Students [MS Word]
Frequently Asked Questions for International Officers [MS Word]

They are also available via UKCOSA's website,
[Posted 20th October 2003]

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