Father’s anger after Moulton College closes residential provision for disabled students

Ron Babbage, Valerie Clarke with their son Charlie Clarke.
Ron Babbage, Valerie Clarke with their son Charlie Clarke.

The father of a 20-year-old with severe learning difficulties has expressed his anger his son will not be able to study a course at Moulton College after its residential provision was closed.

Charlie Clarke, who has Down’s Syndrome and communication difficulties, was due to start a ‘pathway to independence’ course at the college in September that would involve him staying on site five days a week.

However his parents, Ron Babbage and Valerie Clarke, recently received a letter from the college informing them that the residential provision at Moulton College would not be available.

Stephen Davies, prinicpal of Moulton College, said the rooms at the college had been closed as a result of “changes in funding available”.

He said: “Regrettably as a result of changes in funding available, we are unable to continue to offer funded residential provision for students who require a high level of support. We have decided to give the small number (less than 8) affected students and their parents early notice of this change, and very much hope that they will continue to study with us on a non-residential basis.”

However, Mr Babbage said he thought it was “immoral” that the most vulnerable students were being hit hardest by the change in funding.

He said: “Why should iot be the most vulnerable students that suffer the most? It is not easy to find a residential provision like this and the parents should have been given at least 12 months’ notice.

“The college has a really good reputation for this course and it is a real shame that it has shut down the residential provison.”

Mr Babbage said the next nearest place that offered the residential provision was in Shropshire but he did not think his son was ready to move so far away from his parents.