If you want to apply for a college place in 2016, this section will help you to get started.
Making an application
The Children and Families Act became law on September 1st 2014. It 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. You can find out more about the new Act in the guide Special educational needs and disabilities guide for parents and carers prepared by the DfE.
There is more information on our website here:
A young person age 16-25 who wants to go to college in September 2016 will now get 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. 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.
It is important to note that the practice in some areas of requiring young people to be turned down by a local college before they can consider a specialist college should not happen. The DfE is clear about this:
‘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
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’.
The funding system has recently changed. For students with high needs (with support costs over £6,000, so most students attending specialist colleges), the funding comes from two organisations. The Education Funding Agency pays the first two parts of the funding, which are basic funding and £6,000 support funding. These are sometimes called Elements 1 and 2. The LA then 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.