Education for young people with SEND

A boy in a wheelchair reaching for a book

At 16, you can either stay in education or start a career, depending on what you want to do.

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.

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. Your careers advisor can talk about this in your phase transfer meeting.

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 can help you learn the essential skills you’ll need to participate in life, learning and work. You can:

  • build up your skills
  • gain recognised qualifications with City and Guilds
  • improve your job prospects
  • progress in your career.

Everyday English and maths and Independent Living Skills (ILS) are classroom-based courses that teach the basics in English and maths. They give extra support to help those with mild to moderate learning disabilities, difficulties or mental health challenges. These courses give you access to learning that is individualised and challenging, whilst meeting your needs. Everyday English and maths courses can be joined at any time of the year.

We also offer essential digital skills courses and functional skills English and maths courses which start from entry level and progress to Level 2. Sessions are delivered in a friendly learning environment, with online courses taking place in real time. They lead to a Functional Skills (FS) qualification and run during the morning, afternoon and evening. Courses start in September but you can join at any time.

In addition, we also offer life and work skills courses to improve your job prospects and progress in your career. These short courses are designed to cover some important skills and knowledge for work and for general life. All courses are non-accredited and can be done both in a centre and online, or as an additional element of a longer course in English, maths or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses

If English is not your first language, our ESOL courses will help you with your spoken and written English, help you prepare to find a job or help you gain a Trinity ESOL qualification. ESOL courses range from basic English through to Level 2. You can study online or in person in one of our centres across Kent to learn the language you need for your daily life in Britain.

ESOL courses are open to:

  • European Union citizens
  • Refugees
  • Asylum seekers
  • Citizens and their family members who have lived in the UK for at least 3 years and have permission to live in the UK.

ESOL courses are free if you receive certain benefits or are on a low wage. Non-eligible students can study but an overseas fee is required. Your local centre can advise you on your eligibility.

We offer a range of creative courses, which may have a fee, but you may be entitled to a concession.

Find out what courses you can do at your local adult education centre.

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 go to university, your educational health care (EHC) plan stops. However, there are a variety of funding options and support available to you.

Learn more about how to apply for university.

Support in education

You'll need support as you move from secondary school to further education and prepare for adulthood. This could be from your:

  • careers advisor
  • 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.


You can get travel assistance if you're a post-16 student, but it's not automatic. Some options include:

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

See what transport is available for you.

Reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability, you can't be treated unfairly in an education setting, it's against the law. For advice about your rights visit one of the websites below: rights visit:

Preparation for adulthood core standards

To help you and your family make the transition from childhood to adulthood, the preparation for adulthood core standards set out the support available.

Advice and help

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