New Learning

August 1, 2014

FELTAG and Learning Support in the FE Sector

Filed under: Inclusion — kevhickeyuk @ 10:50 am

Feltag Recomendations DocumentFeltag Recommendations, The Childrens and Families Bill and Changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowances.  All three of these could lead to big changes for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.  In a short series of blog posts I will look at each one of these in turn and look at ways learner support in the FE sector can make the most of technology to support learners with these changes.  In this first post I will be looking at the Feltag recommendations.  Please note this is all based on my personal interpretation of these documents.


What is it?

The Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) was set up in January 2013 by Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise in BIS, as a sector group to make practical recommendations aimed at ensuring the effective use of digital technology in learning, teaching and assessment in Further Education and Skills.

You can read the FELTAG report here and you can read the government’s response to the FELTAG report here.


What Does it say? What could that mean for your learners? What can Learning Support Depts do?

There are lots of recommendations in the report and the government’s response includes information on how they are or are planning to meet many of these recommendations.  I have selected a three of these recommendations and made some notes on what it could mean for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities:

Mandate the inclusion in every publicly-funded learning programme from 2015/16 of a 10% wholly-online componentunless a good case is made for why this is not appropriate to a particular programme


This could lead to learners doing more of their learning online, probably on their own devices.  How could learning support departments support this?

  • Make sure learning support has a good online presence on your website or VLE so learners can access the support they need,This should include:
    • Clear details of how learners can contact learner support
    • Information on what assistive technology learners can use on their personal devices
    • links to resources they can access anytime, like the TechDis Toolbox
  • Colleges will be creating/buying in more online learning resources.  Do you know a group of Learners who would be happy to test and evaluate these resources from an accessibility point of view?  If you do then let the learning technologist know.

Providers need to raise levels of awareness and use of Assistive Technology.



If Assistive Technology isnt a high priority for your ALS team, then now is the time to change that.  Have you got an Assistive Technologist or someone in your team to focus on the use and development of Assistive Technology?  Have you looked at the excellent resources from the DART Project on developing an Assistive Technologist?

Encourage awarding bodies to increase the amount of e-assessment across Further Education


Increased use of e-assessment has potential benefits and drawbacks for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.  There can be problems with some Assistive Technologies not working with some assessment systems for technical and/or legal reasons.

On a related point Richard Mclachlan from Runshaw College has created this video which shows how they are using Orato Screen reader with electronic versions of paper based exams

This demonstrates that some colleges are already looking into the issues of Assistive Technology and Assessment.



1 Comment »

  1. […] after looking at Feltag and the Children’s and Families Act, I am now going to look at how the changes to the DSA could be […]

    Pingback by Changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) and learning support in the FE Sector | New Learning — September 2, 2014 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

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