County college funding wait hits special needs students

SUFFOLK: A decision to delay college funding packages for dozens of special needs students was condemned by an angry mother today.

As many as 40 students could miss out on important courses at Suffolk New College because of funding problems at Suffolk County Council.

They were due to start at the college on September 6, but their proposed places have now been thrown into doubt – and many could lose the chance to study at all.

Suffolk County Council had set up panels to agree funding packages in July and August – but these were cancelled because there was not enough money to meet demand.

However, a council spokesman denied that funding had been withdrawn.

He said: “No offer of education has been withdrawn from any young person. However, it has been necessary to review some of the offers made due to increased demand, against the budget set by the YPLA (Young Persons Learning Agency).

“Panel meetings planned for the summer were put on hold to allow existing offers to be considered against available funding.

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“Panel meetings will resume in September to consider all outstanding funding applications. Suffolk New College has written to young people inviting them to get in touch to discuss details of their programmes for September.

“We will continue to work to offer all young people a full and engaging education experience.”

However, parents and carers fear that putting off the panels until September will be too late for the youngsters who need them.

The courses are due to start next week.

Students have been told they will have to start at the beginning of the academic year.

n Have you had problems with funding for courses? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail