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HAVING TO LEARN THE HARD WAY

PORTLAND COLLEGE FEES FOR FINOLA FOR 2010/11        £73,953 (accomplished)
PORTLAND COLLEGE FEES FOR FINOLA FOR 2011/12        £73, 953 (£57,500 raised 31.7.2011)
As at 31.7.2011 (Finola Trust – £30, 000 / Grants – £500 / LA – £27,000)

Finola’s dream is to have an independent future and for her to achieve this she has to experience it by attending a specialised residential college.  SADLY there are NO SPECIALISED colleges in Scotland at all and funding is very much a post code lottery as to whether you receive funding from your local authority. Therefore mammoth costs stands in her way.

Portland College, Nr Nottingham, England www.portland.ac.uk assessed Finola back in Nov 2008.  Magically with a lot of very hard work from a great many people we managed to raise her first years fees 3 weeks to her start date September 2009; year two funded was secured July 2010.  A HUGE thank you is owed to so very many.

Currently there is sadly NO PROVISION for children like Finola for specialised residential further education courses in Scotland.
If you live in England or Wales then any student with disabilities who meets certain criteria have been entitled to FREE FURTHER EDUCATION BETWEEN THE AGES OF 16 – 25 yrs
however owing to the Living and Skills Council changes this year funding is becoming increasingly more difficult.

The Students Awards Agency for Scotland – has advised that there would be NO FUNDING for Finola as she does not fit the criteria for disabled students. The criteria states you have to be studying a higher diploma or degree 
(click to view)

If you live in Scotland complex needs further education is the responsibility of each Local Authority with no ringfencing of budgets and, equal opportunitities provision for all up to the discretion of each Local Authority.  In certain parts of Scotland (postcode lottery) families are sometimes asked to source huge portions of the fees by either fundraising / applying to Trusts or using their own savings if they have any.

There is no consistency across the Local Authorities nor within a Local Authority itself it seems as to how much funding they provide.
We have learnt recently however that some young people in Scotland have been very fortunate to be fully funded by specific Local Authorities to study at specialised colleges in England.  There have only been 2 young people from the whole of Scotland attending Portland College in the past 7 years, and yet Portland has a total of 300 student places per annum.  Finola is now the only student from Scotland attending Portland college.

Why? Owing to the mammoth task and pressures placed on the families to raise the funds PLUS RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISED PROVISION is not encouraged in Scotland (click here for Scottish Government response).
Scottish Government commisioned a Mapping Study report in 2008 for current  provision for Complex Needs further education across Scotland (click here for results).

Did you know that there there was a SCOTTISH PUBLIC PETITION WITH THE PUBLIC PETITIONS COMMITTEE JUST ON THIS SUBJECT?
Closed Petitions – Petition PE1180

Petition by Tom and Josie Wallace calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to ensure that students with complex needs are supported in achieving further education placements and that appropriate  funding mechanisms are provided to enable such placements to be taken up.


Unfortunately this was closed last summer owing to lack of response.

These young people deserve equal opportunities and choice regarding further education. If appropriate further education provision is not available in Scotland, then central funding should be ring fenced by Scottish Government to enable them to have an EQUAL opportunity & choice to appropriate further education for all. FINOLA has been assessed by the college and her fees are dependant on her own care needs



2011 SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MOTION on behalf of Finola Trust

S3M-08084 Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Scottish Labour): Congratulations to Finola Education Trust That the Parliament recognises Leith teenager, Finola Forman, who has cerebral palsy, has chosen a specialist residential further education course requiring her to travel to Nottingham; congratulates the Finola Education Trust on raising £30,000 towards the second year of the three year course; notes that this brings the trust’s contribution for the first two years to £66,300, in addition to contributions by the City of Edinburgh Council; congratulates Finola on raising £3,500 by selling her own artwork; notes that, as part of Contact a Family Scotland’s Brill-Art exhibition, Finola’s painting of Edinburgh Castle will be on display in the garden lobby on 8, 9 and 10 March 2011; acknowledges the support of many others in promoting the campaign, and regrets that teenagers, such as Finola, have to rely on extensive fundraising to fulfil such choices.



2010 SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MOTION on behalf of Finola Trust

S3M-05704 Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Scottish Labour):

Congratulations to the Finola Education Trust
That the Parliament recognises that the Leith teenager, Finola Forman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has chosen to attend a specialist residential further education course and that such facilities are available only in England; congratulates the Finola Education Trust on raising the £36,000 additional money that was required for the first year of the three-year course on top of the contribution from the City of Edinburgh Council; acknowledges the contribution of Leith FM and many others in promoting the campaign, and believes that teenagers such as Finola should be able to exercise choice concerning the further education that they receive without the need for such extensive fundraising.

Lodged on Tuesday, February 09, 2010; Closed
MSPs who supported the motion:

Sarah Boyack MSP – EDINBURGH CENTRAL, Scottish Labour
Karen Whitefield MSP – AIRDREE & SHOTTS/ Scottish Labour
Michael McMahon MSP – HAMILTON NORTH & BELLSHILL/ Scottish Labour
Dave Thompson MSP – HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS / SNP
Jamie Hepburn MSP – CENTRAL SCOTLAND/ SNP
Robin Harper MSP – LOTHIANS/ Scottish Green Party
Patricia Ferguson MSP – GLASGOW MARYHILL / Scottish Labour
David McLetchie MSP – EDINBURGH PENTLANDS/ Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Angela Constance MSP – LIVINGSTON / SNP
Mike Pringle MSP – Edinburgh South / Scottish Liberal Democrats
Alasdair Morgan MSP – South of Scotland / Scottish National Party
Gavin Brown MSP – Lothians / Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Mary Scanlon MSP – Highlands and Islands / Scottish Conservative & Unionist
Margaret Mitchell MSP – Central Scotland / Scottish Conservative & Unionist
Patrick Harvie MSP – Glasgow / Scottish Green Party
Cathy Jamieson MSP – Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley / Scottish Labour
Murdo Fraser MSP – Mid Scotland and Fife / Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Jackie Baillie MSP – Dumbarton / Scottish Labour
Dr Richard Simpson MSP – Mid Scotland and Fife / Scottish Labour
John Park MSP – Mid Scotland and Fife / Scottish Labour
Karen Gillon MSP – Clydesdale / Scottish Labour
Hugh O’Donnell MSP – Central Scotland / Scottish Liberal Democrats
Derek Brownlee MSP – South of Scotland / Scottish Conservative & Unionist
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP – Lothians / Scottish National Party

As at 27.4.2010
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/motions/Default.aspx?motionid=18293
PUBLIC PETITION PE1180