Education for young people with SEND

A boy in a wheelchair reaching for a book

Once you are 16 years old, you can stay in education or start a career. Depending on what you want to do in the future, there are many options from you to choose from.

Your education setting choices

Most young people choose to stay in education by attending a sixth form or a college.

You can move into sixth form or college after taking your GCSEs. Depending on the sixth form or college entry criteria, you may be able to:

  • attend your school's sixth form
  • move to another school's sixth form
  • attend your local college.

Courses in sixth form and college are different, with some focused on academic classes such as English, maths and science. Whilst others can be more work based and hands on.

Find out more about sixth form and college and how to apply.

Specialist colleges and training providers are available to you if you are over the age of 16 and 19.

These specialist education settings allow you to:

  • stay at your current education setting
  • move to a further education setting
  • complete a study programme
  • take a work based approach.

You should have an education, health and care (EHC) plan or have complex needs to attend. This can be discussed in your phase transfer meeting with your careers advisor.

Learn more about specialist colleges and training providers.

If you don't want to study at an education setting, you can study at home. Home education means that you can learn:

  • at your own pace
  • in an environment that you're comfortable in
  • take as many breaks as you need
  • explore the world around you.

Learn about the resources available for you to home educate.

Our adult education courses allow you to learn courses that are not taught in sixth form or at college.

They can teach you:

  • languages
  • fitness
  • counselling
  • computing
  • crafts
  • history
  • plus so much more.

You have to pay for most courses, but you may get a discount if you:

  • receive employment support allowance
  • have a hearing impairment
  • are taking a sign language course
  • have  a member of your family who has a hearing impairment and you're enrolling onto a sign language course
  • receive attendance allowance
  • receive income support
  • receive Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
  • receive severe disablement allowance
  • receive working Tax Credit.

Find out what courses you can do in our adult education centres.

Alternative social care settings support you through activities and training.

They help you to develop your life skills, including:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • crafts
  • gardening
  • sports.

To access these settings, a social care assessment will take place.

Find your nearest alternative social care setting.

From the age of 18 you can attend a higher education setting, for example a university.

Higher education often refers to studying at university.

If you have an educational health care (EHC) plan, and choose to go to university, your EHC plan will stop. However, there are a variety of funding options and support available to you.

Learn more about how to apply for university.

Support in education

As you move from secondary school into further education, support needs to be available to you to help transition and prepare for adulthood.

This support could be from your:

  • careers advisor
  • SENCO
  • form tutor
  • head of year.

Find out what support is available to you in your education.

You may also find it helpful to think about questions to ask the education setting before choosing them.

Transport

Although there is no automatic entitlement to travel assistance for post 16 students, there are travel options available to help you get to and from your school or college, including:

  • Kent 16+ Travel Saver
  • travel training
  • personal transport budgets
  • assisted travel.

See what transport is available for you.

Reasonable adjustments

The Equality Act states that education settings must not discriminate against you because of your disability. It is against the law for an education setting to treat disabled students unfavourably.

For support and advice relating to your education rights visit:

Preparation for adulthood core standards

The preparation for adulthood (PfA) core standards set out the support available for you and your family to help in the move from childhood to adult life.

Learn about the preparation for adulthood core standards.

Advice and support

If you need additional support about your education options we recommend you talk to: