This book is concerned with the development of learning support in post-compulsory education for students with special needs from ad hoc approaches in the 1970s to the development of a market system in the 1990s. This book is based on research conducted during the period between the publication of the 1991 Government White Paper outlining its market-led plans for post-compulsory education, ‘Education and Training in the 21st Century’, to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, whose requirement of Disability Statements for colleges and universities is currently being implemented. Through analysis of events, impact of legislation and changes in professional practices, a clear picture emerges of where this provision has grown from and its condition today. This historical perspective has enabled me to focus on key personnel who have influenced provision and significant legislative and political factors and allowed me to examine the legacy of previous forms of provision on current practice. I have sought to demonstrate ways in which actions of individuals affect this system of provision, the provenance of some of the attitudes and approaches that persist within it and how these have contributed to the development of structures of provision for students with special needs in the post-compulsory education system. In writing this book, I have sought to fulfil a number of objectives including:

to describe the development of provision for students with special needs in further education from the 1970s to the present;

to examine provision for meeting particular needs as part of equal opportunities policy in post-compulsory education;

to explore equal opportunities policy development and its implementation in practice, specifically in the area of special needs.