Reprieve for parents who faced 600 per cent increase in college fees for special needs children

PUBLISHED: 13:41 04 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 May 2010

PARENTS of young people with learning difficulties facing a 600 per cent increase in fees from September for a course at Oaklands College in St Albans have been granted a reprieve. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has now told parents that no fees w

PARENTS of young people with learning difficulties facing a 600 per cent increase in fees from September for a course at Oaklands College in St Albans have been granted a reprieve.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has now told parents that no fees will be payable for the coming 2008/09 college year.

It follows last week's front page story in the Herts Advertiser which revealed that charges for the Post-18 Entry Level course at Oaklands College for special needs young people were to rise from £250 to £1,635 per year from September.

Shocked parents only learned of the increase three weeks after the end of term at Oaklands leaving them with no-one to talk to about the rise which had been the subject of discussions for the previous three months without parents being involved.

A statement from the LSC on Monday confirmed that no fees would be required - although parents will still pay enrolment fees and other charges which amount to around £250 - for the next college year and stressed that there were a wide range of exemptions available, many of which applied to disabled learners, and additional funds for those experiencing financial hardship.

Liam Sammon, area director for LSC Herts, said: "It is through both the careful consideration of these exemptions and the use of these hardship funds that we have been able to work with the college in coming to this satisfactory conclusion.

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