Mainstream colleges and sixth forms for young people with SEND

You may be able to attend a sixth form or college of your choice if you meet the entry criteria.

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

Our planning for adulthood (PfA) core standards also sets out how your chosen sixth form or college can support you. It explains what you should expect in terms of advice and guidance, and the things you can do to help yourself during this time.

Sixth form

Sixth form is the last 2 years (year 12 and year 13) of secondary education.

You can move into sixth form after taking your GCSEs and often you can stay in the school you go to. If you are unable to or do not want to, you can apply to attend another school.

Sixth form classes tend to be smaller and provide more academic subjects, with some offering vocational courses. The lessons taught allow you to study for qualifications, which can be used to get a job or move into university or college.

Depending on your choice of subject, there may be a range of assessments including, written examinations, coursework or skills based assessment to gain your qualifications.


Whilst you study maths and English at some colleges, you will also take vocational courses.

These courses allow you to learn about specific jobs in a practical way. Examples of vocational courses are; beauty, business, carpentry, animal management or motor mechanics.

At college you can progress from foundation or entry level courses all the way up to degree level and professional qualifications.

Depending on your choice of course, you will take part in written examinations, coursework or skills based assessment to gain your qualification.

If you have more complex needs, you may be able to attend a local specialist post 16 or post 19 education and training provider.

Before you apply

To find out whether a sixth form or college is the right path for you, you can:

Things to remember

How will you get to your chosen sixth form or college? Find out what options are available to you and how to apply.

It is important to find out whether they can support your needs. What you need will depend on your individual needs, but here are some questions you might like to ask:

  • what support is available in class?
  • what support is available in exams?
  • what specialist support is available, for example, speech and language?
  • what assistive technology is available?
  • are there dedicated areas for learners with a higher level of support need?
  • do they have an additional learning support policy?
  • do they have an accessibility statement for students with learning difficulties and disabilities?
  • will a member of staff come along to a transition meeting or annual review at the your current school? This will give you a chance to meet them before you finish year 11.
  • what qualifications do staff have in relation to special educational needs?
  • are staff trained to give medication?
  • are staff trained to give personal care?
  • how does the college promote independence?
  • do they offer supervised breaks and lunches?


If you do not have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you can apply directly to the setting or via Kent Choices. You must speak with the sixth form or college before to find out how they want you to apply and whether they can support your needs.

If you have an EHC plan, then your school will hold a phase transfer review (annual review) with you. The review will take place when you are in year 10 and will look into your EHC plan. As part of the review, it is important that you include your choice of sixth form or college. Once the review is submitted, we will speak with your chosen setting and others to see if they can support your needs. We will name and issue an amended final EHC plan by 31 March before you start in September.