Education: Skills — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 14th March 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Wilcox Baroness Wilcox The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 3:15 pm, 14th March 2012

The noble Lord is an expert on this subject and I think carefully about the answers that I give him. Yes, he had already given me sight of the Question he was going to ask. There is no evidence to suggest that the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act is not compliant with the Equality Act. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a critical friend in order for us to be assured of continued compliance, and it stays alongside us. On tackling the colleges and providers, where a college or provider is not using appropriate access arrangements they may lose their right to deliver these qualifications as an approved centre. We will be watching that situation very carefully. Both English and mathematics, of course, are on-going problems for people with dyslexia but, where barriers to access remain, as a last resort individuals can be exempted from up to two or three of the assessed components within the functions skills-I have checked this and found it to be right-speaking, listening, communication, reading and writing. In the last event, two or three of those components can be removed to make it as accessible as possible.

Perhaps I might add that the employers are very keen that everyone should have basic English and mathematics, and we know how difficult this is for many people with dyslexia. However, it is important, if we can, to keep people with disabilities and dyslexia inside the system and to help them to be as much a part of our community as everyone else. So, wherever it is possible to keep people inside the community, we will. I am sorry that my answer was long but the issue is important.