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Post-16 Education

There are many options available to young people for post 16 education and training.  Providers of post 16 education and training must ensure that they give the right support to their students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).  Support should be aimed at preparing young people for adulthood by promoting students’ independence and enabling the young person to make good progress towards employment and/or higher education, independent living, good health and participation in their community. 

Options for post 16

Broadly speaking, options for Post 16 provision include the following;

  • Most young people with SEND and/or an EHCP can expect to have their needs adequately and appropriately met in a local and mainstream Further Education (FE) College.  Some Colleges offer a range of courses at Foundation, Entry and Level 1 and under the new Code of Practice an EHCP or other form of SEN Support may continue into FE
  • Some young people may continue into their own schools sixth forms for A levels or other courses
  • Four special schools in the county have Post 16 Units (PSUs) which offer provision from age 16 to 19
  • There are some Independent Specialist Providers (ISPs), both schools and colleges, who may cater to the needs of a young person with significant and/or highly specific SEND.  The Local Authority has a decision making process in place to decide on admissions for both ISPs and PSUs
  • Some young people may choose a more vocational route via a Training Provider; an employer based apprenticeship or supported internships/traineeships
  • Gloucestershire has a supported employment service for disabled young people, called Forwards which offers support in finding and maintaining employment

Post 16 Education and Training

Young people entering post 16 education and training should be accessing provision which supports them to build on their achievements at school and which helps them progress towards adulthood.  The amount and type of support that a student needs will vary according to their individual needs and the courses they have selected to study as a full or part time student.  It is anticipated that the majority of learners’ needs will have been identified prior to Post 16 study and that educational providers will be able to build on successful interventions already used 0-16 through careful transition planning.  For those young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPS) these should be amended to name the new Post 16 placement by the end of March in year 11.

However there may be some young people who;

  • Have special educational needs that have not been identified prior to Post 16 study or who self declare a learning difficulty or disability
  • Experience a change of circumstances Post 16 resulting in special educational needs
  • Have chosen Post 16 study options which necessitate further identification, assessment and intervention in relation to the students needs in a different learning environment
  • Are electively home educated and have an EHCP, in which case planning for Post 16 transition should be discussed at year 9 and all subsequent EHCP reviews to year 11 as for any other child with an EHCP

Further information:

Please speak to your school or college for further information or contact the local authority on 01452 425000 with your particular query and you will be connected to the right team.

Information and advice is also available from SENDIASS or FREE PHONE 0800 158 3603


The Children and Families Act 2014 and revision of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice, 2015, set new duties on Further Education (FE) providers to provide a consistent framework spanning 0-25.  It has significant implications as it brings together Pre 16 SEND systems and Post 16 Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD) systems into one unified system.

For the first time Part 3 of the Children and Families Act places duties on FE providers to ensure they improve attainment for students and secure good outcomes whether or not they have an EHCP.

The FE sector must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice and use their best endeavours to ensure necessary provision is made for any individual who study full and part time, across a wide range of academic and vocational courses.

Post 16 providers should be ambitious for young people with SEND and must use their best endeavours so that young people with SEND have access to a wide range of study programmes and support at all levels to enable them to achieve good life outcomes.  It encompasses every level of study from Entry Level upwards.  It is important to note that EHCPs do not continue into Higher Education (University level) so the Plans will be ceased.  However the EHCP can be used as a guide for the HE provider who have their own systems of support in place and available.

Post 16 providers should make sure that students are on an appropriate course and use their best endeavours to ensure that the necessary provision is made for an individual with special educational needs.  Where available, Post 16 providers should draw on previous assessments and other information from the students’ former school or other educational setting as well as discussing what has what has worked well with the young person and their family.  However, some students may want a fresh start when leaving school to attend college or training and any sharing of information should be sensitive to their concerns and done with their consent. 

If a young person has an EHCP the Local Authority (LA) will use the EHCP to consult with potential Post 16 providers in the final year of compulsory education to identify the most appropriate provision that can meet their needs.


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