Post 16 SEND support in colleges
Transition to post 16 provision
Colleges should be involved in transition planning between school and college so that they can prepare to meet the student’s needs and ensure a successful transition into college life.
Colleges should give all applicants an opportunity before, or at entry, and at subsequent points, to declare whether they have a learning need, a disability, or a medical condition which will affect their learning.
If a student makes a declaration the college should discuss with the student how they can provide support.
Students who fell behind at School, or who are studying below Level 2, should have their needs identified and appropriate support should be provided.
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
The Graduated Response within post 16 provision
Where a student has a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, the college must discuss with students the type of appropriate support to put in place for them.
Colleges should take the "Assess, Plan, Do Review" cyclical approach to assessing need, planning and providing support. They should involve the student closely at all stages of the cycle and they should ensure that staff have the skills to do this effectively.
Special educational support might include, for example:
- assistive technology
- personal care (or access to it)
- specialist tuition
- one-to-one and small group learning support
- travel training
- accessible information such as symbol based materials
- access to therapies (e.g. speech and language therapy)
Specialist help should be involved where the student’s needs are not being met by the setting, and if they still are not progressing with the support being provided the young person can be considered for an assessment for an EHC plan.
Where a young person is aged over 18 consideration must be given to whether or not the young person requires additional time (in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have SEN) to complete their education or training.
Funding for SEN Support post 16
All mainstream colleges are provided with resources to support students with additional needs, including young people with SEN and disabilities. School and academy sixth forms, sixth form colleges, further education colleges and 16-19 academies receive an allocation based on a national funding formula for their core provision.
Colleges have additional funding for students with additional needs, including those with SEN. This funding is not ring-fenced and is included in their main allocation in a ‘single line’ budget. Colleges are expected to provide appropriate, high quality SEN support using all available resources.
It is only when this has taken place and it is apparent that the student needs a level of support in excess of that Ordinarily Available that the Post 16 provider can either request Top Up Funding from the Local Authority directly or via a request for an EHC Needs Assessment.
Please note: There is no requirement for an EHC plan for a young person for whom a college receives additional top-up funding except in the case of a young person who is over 19.
For more information see Post 16 learning options for young people with SEND.