Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Further education: what are the options for young people with disabilities?

There are a range of options for young people with a disability who are looking to access further education, but it can be difficult for families to decipher the best route and how to access support. Here, Tania Tirraoro, Co-Director at Special Needs Jungle, outlines a number of educational opportunities for young people with disabilities and provides some top tips for families who are approaching this transitional period.

When a young person has a disability, they don’t just ‘grow up’. In local authority speak, they ‘prepare for adulthood’, ‘transition to adult services’ or ‘train for independence to access the community’. It’s all very clinical and can feel like a different world for families and young people with disabilities.

Many families describe a ‘cliff edge’, where they suddenly find themselves without the care and support they need. This can be particularly nerve-racking when school education comes to an end, and families have to make decisions about the next steps for their child. However, parents and carers can take comfort in the fact that educational support for people with a learning disability doesn’t stop when they leave secondary school.

In England, every young person must stay in education or training until the age of 18, and young people with a learning disability can continue to receive support with education and training up to the age of 25. There are many further education options for young people with additional needs after the age of 16. This includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges and university, as well as study programmes and tailored packages of support.

For those who do not wish to continue with mainstream education, there are a variety of training opportunities which can help to prepare the young person for the world of work, such as traineeships, apprenticeships and supported internships. Every council must publish a ‘Local Offer’, which details what support is available in the local area for children and young people with SEND.

As well as researching the educational and employment opportunities post 16, there are also a variety of extra steps families can take to ensure they are well prepared for the transition process.

The complete version of this feature is only available to In Focus subscribers. To subscribe, please go to https://www.learningdisabilitytoday.co.uk/account/register/ and select ‘paid subscription’.

The full version of this article explores transition days, meeting SENCOs, navigating the discontinuation of Education, Health and Care Plans, supported internships, mental capacity and accessing support. Tania also provides her top tips for transition planning as well as helpful resources for parent carers and professionals.

The Preparing for Adulthood issue also includes articles on:

  • Planning for social care services in adulthood: An interview with Julie Pointer, Programme Lead for Children and Young People, National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).
  • From living with family to supported living: Darren Devine speaks to two families navigating the move to supported living accommodation.
  • Gaining paid employment in adulthood: Val Proctor, PR and Media Manager at Hft, explains how people with learning disabilities can be supported to gain paid work.
  • Off the cliff edge: transitioning to adult healthcare services: Alison Bloomer explores what a good transition to adult healthcare looks like.
  • Managing money and benefits in adulthood: Dan Parton speaks to a financial adviser and the Family Consultants team at Dimensions about changes to benefits and parental decision making.

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