Education for young people with additional needs aged 16 plus

Colleges and post-16 institutions

All post-16 students with additional or special educational needs or disabilities who attend Post-16 education have a minimum entitlement to provision that is normally available, whichever school or college they attend. Under the SEND Code of Practice (0-25), further education colleges and other Post-16 Institutions have the following duties that they must follow:

  • to co-operate with the local authority on arrangements for young people with SEND
  • to offer a place to a young person if the institution is named in an educational health and care (EHC) plan
  • to have regard to the SEND code of practice
  • to do everything they can to secure the special educational provision that the young person needs

As well as this, there are the following duties under the 2010 equality act:

  • colleges and institutions must not discriminate against, harass or victimise young people who are disabled
  • they must make reasonable adjustments to prevent young people being placed at a significant disadvantage
  • they must prevent discrimination, promote equal opportunities and good relationships

Ordinarily available for post 16 learners

Colleges and other post-16 providers have their own arrangements in place for meeting the needs of young people with SEND, but a range of provision should be available at an appropriate level to meet the young person's needs. This includes:

  • a college must do its best to put appropriate support in place (SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years, 2014)
  • young people should be supported to participate in discussions about their aspirations, their needs and the support that they think will help them best
  • support should be aimed at promoting student independence and enabling the young person to make good progress towards employment and/or higher education, independent living, good health and participating in the community
  • support should be evidence based
  • colleges should be aware of effective practice in the sector and elsewhere, and personalise it for the individual
  • they should keep the needs of the students with SEND under regular review
  • for many learners, their needs will be met out of the institution's own SEND Support, as part of its approach to meeting those needs. Details should be published on college websites. For those with more complex needs, provision will be set out in an Educational and Health Care Plan

Options on leaving school for young people with SEND

Local and residential colleges

Young people may choose to go to local or residential college. Your school careers advisor can help with this and provide information about the range of options available. A social worker could still be involved in providing support.

If you decide to go away to a residential college, a social worker can help plan for life after residential college if this is needed. Wherever possible, support and services in your local area will be offered.

Work or volunteering

Personal advisers can signpost to training, work or volunteering opportunities. The Disability Employment Adviser at the Job Centre (opens in a new window) can also help. A social worker can help young people with additional needs to access supported work schemes.

Career advice and support

Find out more about the career advice and support you could receive on our Career Advice and Support page.

Funding support (Disabled Students' Allowance)

If you are living in England and accessing higher education (such as at college or university) you can apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability including a:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty e.g. dyslexia

You don't have to have an Education, Health and Care Plan to apply for a DSA.

A DSA is paid on top of your other student finance. The money helps you to pay the extra costs you may have because of your disability. It doesn't have to be repaid.

You can find out more about DSA eligibility, how to apply and what support is available on the website.