There are many different options and learning routes available for young people with special educational needs after leaving secondary school.
There are two main routes you can take: full-time education, or work-based learning/training. Whichever route you take, you can still achieve the same level of qualification.
The level you can join education/training/work-based learning at depends on your ability and qualifications. It also depends on your chosen course - if the course you want to do is highly specialised and vocational – like hairdressing or mechanics - and you don't have previous experience, you might need to start at the lowest level.
Which option is right for me?
Post 16 options for young people with disabilities and special education needs include full-time further education (college or sixth form), study programmes, apprenticeships, traineeships, and supported internships.
For details on what each of these involves and the right level for you, download the full guide to Post 16 SEND information, advice and guidance.
For more information on these learning and training options, you can also visit the apprenticeships page or traineeships page.
Study Programmes (previously called Foundation Learning Programmes)
There are a range of study programmes offered at many colleges in Suffolk for young people aged 16-19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs. The programmes are personalised to you and designed around your needs. They are often based around vocational subjects, with functional skills and opportunities to gain English, maths and ICT qualifications.
The aim of study programmes is to increase the potential of young people, with a focus on gaining skills and knowledge to prepare you for work. Study programmes also develop your personal, social and independent living skills.
To see the full range of colleges and training providers in Suffolk that offer study programmes, download the Post 16 SEND learning providers guide
(Just to say that study programmes may be called foundation learning or foundation studies).
What funding is available for me?
Learners under 19 don't have to pay any tuition, registration or exam fees. If students are over 19 and have an EHC plan, they will be unlikely to pay fees. But there may be costs involved with your learning for things like equipment (books, materials, uniform or specialist equipment), travel, and educational trips.
The Access to Work scheme can provide funding to pay for any specialist equipment, and help with costs in the workplace. There are also a few different schemes to support students who may struggle to meet the costs of learning or training, including the 16-19 bursary.
For details on the funding available for post 16 learning, you can download the guide to Post 16 SEND information, advice and guidance
You can also have a look at our handy financial fact sheet under the finance advice section.
What support will there be for me?
All employers and colleges have a duty to make adjustments for people with disabilities and additional needs, and will be able to provide additional support during your course. There will be a earning support specialist at each college or training provider, who you will be able to go to for support and advice.
For loads of information and advice around education, moving into adulthood and general support visit Suffolk's Local Offer website for young people with additional needs or disabilities.