Today I visited Trinity Specialist College in Sutton Coldfield to see the work that the local community is doing to support young people with disabilities and learning difficulties in our region.
With its beginnings in 2011, the college was set-up by a group of parents after they were told that no schools in the region could meet their children’s needs. Since then, the college has doubled its intake, now catering for 24 students.
It’s estimated that 1 million people in the UK have learning difficulties and nearly one quarter are children, yet the access they have to basic services such as education and health is still poor. In fact, in some areas of the Midlands over 90% of children with learning difficulties are placed in mainstream schools which may not be able to help them reach their potential.
It was a pleasure to meet the hard-working staff at Trinity Specialist College today and I truly admire the parents who started this initiative - facilities like this play a vital role in supporting children and their families, but it shouldn’t end there. We must do more to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
Having recently submitted a declaration requesting that the European Commission increase specialist afterschool care for children who need it so that parents who want to work, can work, I am working to ensure that people with mental and physical disabilities are not excluded from society and are given equal opportunities.
I have seen how many people in the Midlands have poor access not only to education, but to jobs and other basic services. That’s why I have signed a declaration to attain greater inclusion for people with disabilities in all areas of life.
The EU have expressed an intention to improve the economic opportunities for disabled people and I am going to do all I can to ensure that this is followed through.