Applying for a Place

How to get started making your application for college

Making an application

The Children and Families Act which became law on September 1st 2014, changes the way things work for children and young people with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities.

These changes will be brought in gradually.

Guide for applications

You can find out more about the new Act in the guide prepared by the DfE.

Special educational needs and disabilities guide for parents and carers

Education Health and Care Plans

A young person age 16-25 who wants to go to college in September 2017 will have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). These plans cover health and social care as well as education. They will be prepared by the Local Authority in which you live.

Up to date information

This is a useful link to IPSEA which has the latest information and guidance.

You can find out more about how a plan is produced and what it should cover here:

You can request a place at a specialist college when this is the best place to meet a young person’s needs. This will be written in the Plan. If the specialist college is on the S41 Secretary of State’s approved list, then the LA must secure the place and the college must admit them. However, there are some conditions attached to these duties – the college should be suitable to meet their needs, and it should be an ‘efficient use of resources’.

DfE guidance on requesting a place includes:

‘Parents and young people do not need to apply for and be rejected from a general FE college before requesting that a specialist post-16 institution be named on their EHC plan.  The parent’s/young person’s request carries particular statutory weight, so they should request the provider they would like.’ DfE


Getting the funding

The funding system has recently changed. For students with high needs (with support costs over £6,000), the funding comes from two organisations, the Education Funding Agency, which pays for place funding (sometimes called Elements 1 and 2), and the Local Authority, which pays the remaining support costs, sometimes called top-up funding or Element 3.

Each local authority will have its own approach to the funding process; for example they will have their own forms and policies. They must include this in their Local Offer. The Local Offer should be on your local authority’s website.

The discussion about the funding is usually between the college and the local authority. However, you may get involved in some of the discussions about the details of the learning programme and the type of support that is needed.

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