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Further Education and SEND

Since 1 September 2014, the above institutions have had a duty to:

  • Co-operate with the LA on arrangements for young people with SEND
  • Admit a young person if the institution is named in an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • Have regard to the SEND Code of Practice
  • Use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision that the young person needs, whether or not they have an EHC plan.

The Council expects colleges commissioned by them to be ambitious for young people with SEND, whatever their needs and level of study, and to support them so that they can make a positive progression to independent adult life.

Identifying SEND

Colleges should be involved in planning between school and college so that they can prepare to meet student’s needs and ensure a successful transition into college life:

  • Schools should share information about previous SEND provision before the young person moves to college, preferably in the spring term prior to the new course
  • Schools should work with young people and their families and the new college, to ensure that the new setting has a good understanding of the young person’s aspirations and how they would like to be supported
  • Schools and colleges should work in partnership to provide opportunities such as taster courses, link programmes to enable young people to become familiar with the college environment
  • Schools and colleges should take part in 'Preparing for Adulthood' ECH plan reviews, from Year 9 onwards
  • Under statutory guidance accompanying the Autism Strategy2, SENCOs should inform young people with autism of their right to a community care assessment and their parents of the right to a carer’s assessment; colleges should adopt the same approach.

Colleges should give all applicants an opportunity to declare whether they have a learning need, a disability or a medical condition which may affect their learning. If a student makes a declaration, the college should discuss with the student how they will provide support. Any screenings and assessments should be differentiated and proportionate to the likely level of SEND.

Students who fell behind at school, or who are studying below level 2, should have their needs identified and appropriate support should be provided. It should not be assumed that they have SEND just because they have lower attainment levels than the majority of their peers.

SEND Support in College

Where a student has a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, the college must use its best endeavours to put appropriate support in place.

SEN Code of Practice

  • 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, and take a cyclical approach (Assess - Plan - Do - Review).
  • Where the college decides a student needs SEND support, they should discuss with the student their ambitions, the nature of the support and the expected impact.
  • Colleges should also keep under review the reasonable adjustments they make under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they have removed all the barriers to learning that they reasonably can.
  • Colleges should make sure they have access to specialist skills and expertise to support the learning of students with SEND. This can be through partnerships with other agencies such as adult social care or health services, or specialist organisations, and/or by employing practitioners directly.
  • Colleges should ensure they have access to external specialist services and expertise. These can include, for example, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), therapists.
  • They should also ensure that there is a named person in the college with oversight of SEND provision to ensure co-ordination of support, similar to the role of the SENCO in schools. This person should contribute to the strategic and operational management of the college.

Funding for SEND Support

  • All mainstream colleges are provided with resources to support students with additional needs, including young people with SEND. 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 are expected to provide appropriate, high quality SEND support using all available resources.
  • It is for colleges, as part of their normal budget planning, to determine their approach to using their resources to support the progress of young people with SEND. This will enable colleges to provide a clear description of the types of special educational provision they normally provide. This will help parents and young people and others understand what they can normally expect the college to provide for young people with SEND.
  • Colleges are expected to provide additional support which costs up to a nationally prescribed threshold per student per year. The responsible LA, usually the authority where the young person lives, should provide additional top-up funding where the cost of the special educational provision required to meet the needs of an individual young person exceeds the Colleges nationally prescribed threshold. Those young people would normally have an EHC plan.