Expectations of colleges and post 16 provision

young people at desk with books and pens


Most pupils with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) go to their local mainstream school. Some children may need additional support to access their local school. This may be help with learning, communication, behaviour, or sensory needs. Schools and colleges in Cambridgeshire should work with parents so that pupils can access learning alongside children of the same age. 

Very occasionally, a mainstream setting may not be the right place for a pupil with SEND. The Government provide the Edubase directory to search schools and publish a list of approved, independent special institutions 

The term Colleges refers to further education colleges, sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies and some independent specialist colleges approved under Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 


Statutory duties

All schools must publish details of SEND provision they make available through their School Information Report and co-operate with the LA in drawing up and reviewing the Local Offer. 


Mainstream Schools should have a qualified SENCO ( Link to SENCO bit later) 

Colleges should have a named person with responsibility for the oversite of SEN in their college. 


Schools and colleges have a duty as part of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled children and young people, to support medical conditions and to inform parents and young people if SEND provision is made for them. 


Colleges should be able to evidence good outcomes for all children, including those with SEND as a result of interventions. Good provision mapping, individual planning and tracking of outcomes of any interventions will ensure that this evidence is always available. 

Colleges should ensure good provision through Quality First Teaching, a graduated response

Colleges must be able to demonstrate that any child they put forward for consideration for statutory assessment has needs that are significantly outside and beyond those that can be provided for by using their delegated and devolved funding and the resources available through the SEND Information Hub (Local Offer) 

Colleges should ensure good transition planning is in place to best support children/young people with SEND and their families to successfully transition to a new class or setting.  


SENCo or SEN Coordinator

A Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) is a qualified teacher who arranges additional support for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). Their role within settings is to 

  • put the settings SEN policy into effect on a daily basis 

  • help staff to support children with SEN 

  • work with parents to help their child 

  • work with local authority support services 

  • work with other professionals e.g. health services 

All mainstream schools and maintained nursery schools must have a SENCO.  Smaller primaries might share a SENCO between them.  Other early years providers must meet the SEN of their children.  To do this they might find someone who can take on the SENCO job or share the SENCO job between a group. 

Colleges ‘should ensure that there is a named person in the college with oversight of SEN provision to ensure co-ordination of support, similar to the role of the SENCo.

Identification of SEN

Early identification of special educational needs is an important part of ensuring that the best provision is made for all children and young people.  Where a child or young person continues to make less than expected progress, despite high quality differentiated targeted teaching, it is important to understand whether there is an underlying difficulty which is acting as a barrier to learning 

What to do if you have concerns

Speak to someone at your child's school or college– that could be the: 

  • class teacher  
  • form tutor/ head of year 
  • Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

The college might even contact you first if they think your child could use some extra support. Usually, you'll meet to discuss any concerns and the way forward. 

Graduated approach to SEN

Colleges may talk about APDR (assess, plan do review) or the graduated approach. 

This is a 4 step way of working that is talked about in the SEN code of practice 2014. 


  • What is preventing a child from accessing learning? 
  • What are the childs strengths/ areas of concern? 
  • What is the child/pupils and family view? 
In identifying a child as needing SEN support the class or subject teacher, working with the SENCO, should carry out a clear analysis of the pupil’s needs. This should draw on the teacher’s assessment and experience of the pupil, their previous progress and attainment, as well as information from the school’s core approach to pupil progress, attainment, and behaviour. It should also draw on other subject teachers’ assessments where relevant, the individual’s development in comparison to their peers and national data, the views and experience of parents, the pupil’s own views and, if relevant, advice from external support services. Schools should take seriously any concerns raised by a parent. These should be recorded and compared to the setting’s own assessment and information on how the pupil is developing. 



  • What will the college do to support needs identified at ‘assess’? 
  • This could be strategies or an intervention to help the child with an area of identified need 
  • What can the pupil or family do to help?

Where it is decided to provide a pupil with SEN support, the parents must be formally notified, although parents should have already been involved in forming the assessment of needs as outlined above. The teacher and the SENCO should agree in consultation with the parent and the pupil the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place, as well as the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, along with a clear date for review. 

All teachers and support staff who work with the pupil should be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required. 


  • The plan is put in place 
  • Who needs a copy of the plan? all adults working with the child/pupil in  college should know about the plan. Parents and the child if appropriate should have a copy of the plan. 
The class or subject teacher should remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis. Where the interventions involve group or one-to-one teaching away from the main class or subject teacher, they should still retain responsibility for the pupil. They should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved, to plan and assess the impact of support and interventions and how they can be linked to classroom teaching. 


  • The plan is discussed with parents, teachers, the SENCO, support staff, the child if appropriate 
  • Did it work, which bits might need changing?  
  • Did it tell us anything to add to the Assess part of the approach? 

The effectiveness of the support and interventions and their impact on the pupil’s progress should be reviewed in line with the agreed date. 6.54 The impact and quality of the support and interventions should be evaluated, along with the views of the pupil and their parents 

This should feed back into the analysis of the pupil’s needs 

How does college help support my child to move into education, employment and training?

You will often see work and career awareness introduced at the primary school stage. This often looks like employer visits/ Career Days at schools, so children start to think about different careers and jobs in the future  


The school and college curriculum will also weave employability & transferable skills into its timetable: Thinking skills, problem-solving, decision-making skills • organisational skills (cognition and executive functioning skills); developing curiosity, imagination, and interest; fostering the child's natural curiosity, developing language and reasoning; assisting in developing the new skills which are needed.  

Though no longer compulsory in schools, work experience is still offered at many schools in Yr 10 upwards and further education foundation learning departments and vocational qualifications.



How should college support my child and their future options?
  • Every college will be expected to publish details of their careers programme for young people and their parents  

Further Education Colleges will also have Student Support Services which offer information, advice and guidance on careers, employment and training options and can include also support with work experience and job opportunities as extra:  

Career Information, Advice and Guidance at Local further Education Colleges (including work experience support):  


If you son and daughter attend an Area Special School, they will also have involvement with the 14-25 Additional Needs Team (Page link to ANT Team) from yr 9 (13/14 years- up to 25 years) 

Related Pages

  1. Further and higher education
  2. Preparing for Adult Life - Parent or Carer Information
  3. Post-16 transport to school or setting

External Links

  1. SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years
  2. Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 Schedule 1.


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