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.

If you are not sure if a mainstream college or sixth form is for you, speak to them directly to find out more. Or visit the CXK website to help you think about your future.

Sixth form

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

You can move into sixth form after you finish your GCSEs, and you can usually stay in the same school or apply to another.

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.

You may have to take written exams, coursework or skills-based assessments depending on your choice of subject.

Alternatively you may wish to attend an independent school sixth form.


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.

Alternatively you may wish to attend an independent college form.

Before you apply

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

Visit the education setting

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 before choosing your education setting.

If you live near the border of Kent and Medway, you can also find your nearest sixth form or college on Medway's local offer.


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.

After sixth form or college

Once you have completed your time in sixth form or college, you may want to look into higher education to continue with your learning or move into employment.

If you're interested in options for higher education, visit the CXK website to read about their free virtual information, advice and guidance service alongside KMPF (Kent and Medway Progression Federation).