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Young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) moving into further education or college

Many young people with SEN or disabilities, once they are over compulsory school age, move into further education (FE), such as FE and sixth form colleges.

A young person with special educational needs may need particular support as they plan for the next stage of their education.

Schools must include preparation for adult life in the curriculum and provide independent career advice to young people from age 13 onwards. This includes advice tailored to the needs of young people with SEN and disabilities. Planning should start early and young people should be at the centre of the process.

When a young person reaches 16 they can choose to continue their learning in either a school with a sixth form, a further education college, a commercial and charitable provider (training provider) or a sixth form college. Young people can also continue their learning while in a job as an apprentice. See our Adult learning and job training page for more information about apprenticeships.

Support during further education

Your child will continue to get support during further education. 

Mainstream colleges must support students with SEN in a similar way to schools do. This includes doing everything they can to identify the needs of students with SEN and putting in place the help they need through SEN support. There should be a named person in charge of support for students with SEN. Students who need more help than the college could normally provide may need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments and plans.    

Specialist post 16 colleges

We will always try to make sure that a young person's special educational needs are met in mainstream post 16 provision before considering a placement in a specialist post 16 college. Sometimes, a young person's assessed learning and support needs may not be met in mainstream provision and therefore consideration will be given to a placement in one of these colleges.

Visit Natspec: find a college to search for a college.

An EHC plan can continue up to age 25

If your child has an EHC plan, they'll have a 'transition plan' drawn up in Year 9 (age 13/14). This helps to plan for their future after they leave school. This should focus on what your child will need to support their move into adult life, including further education, employment, independent living, relationships and staying healthy.  

An EHC plan does not have to end when your child leaves school. Your child can continue to have a plan up to age 25 as long as they still have SEN and stay in some kind of education or training.

Contact us
SEND and Inclusion Service
03000 267 800
Our address is:
  • Broom Cottages Primary & Nursery School
  • Ferryhill
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL17 8AN
01740 657 792