Help at School or College

What is SEND?

SEND stands for ‘Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities’

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 (6.1) says:
….all children and young people are entitled to an appropriate education, one that is appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards and the fulfilment of potential. This should enable them to:
• achieve their best;
• become confident individuals living fulfilling lives; and
• make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training

This applies to ALL children and young people, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

How to get help with SEND at school or college

If you attend a school with a sixth form, you can contact the school’s SENCO (special educational needs coordinator) if you need support. In colleges, there will also be someone in charge of SEN provision, but they may not be called a SENCO.  You can search your college’s website to find out who is responsible for SEND provision in your college and how to contact them. If you are still not sure, ask at the main reception desk in your college and they should be able to direct you to the right person or department.

Post 16 SEN Support

Chapter 7 of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015 (the “Code”) explains how colleges should identify, assess and provide support for young people with SEN. This also applies to sixth form colleges, 16 – 19 academies and some independent specialist colleges

As a young person you should be involved in discussions about your hopes, your needs, and the support that you think will help you best. Support should be aimed at helping you to become more independent and supporting you to progress towards employment and/or higher education, independent living, good health and involvement in the community.

SEN Support should follow a cycle of action:


Colleges should bring together all the relevant information from you, your teachers and anyone else working with you. This should be discussed with you but you can choose for your parent, carer or another supporter to help you.


Your support plan should be developed by your college with you. Support might include assistive technology, specialist tuition, note takers, access to therapies (for example, speech and language therapy) or a range of other types of support.


This plan should be put into place by the college.


Your College should review your support plan regularly, taking into account your progress and any changes to your circumstances or your wishes, which may lead to changes in the type and level of support you receive.

The college will keep a record of the support they provide and of your progress. For some young people, external specialist help may also be involved (e.g. occupational therapy, or appointments with mental health professionals).

If the support your college is providing is not enough for you to make expected progress, the college, you and/or your parent/carer could consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. See our separate page on Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and Reviews for more information.

Help in exams

Help or special arrangements in exam is known as Access Arrangements. You can read our separate fact sheet to find out more about Access Arrangements and you should speak to the person who organises SEND provision in your college to see if you are entitled to help in exams. You should also let the college know if you have had Access Arrangements, before so they can assess if you still need these arrangements.

Preparation for transition to college

The law (Children & Families Act 2014, “CAFA, 2014”, s66) states that schools, academies and colleges must do their best to arrange special educational provision that any student may need. This means that SEN support should continue as you move from one setting to the next. You can ask questions about the way this support is delivered in the new setting. It is also a good idea to read the school or college’s SEN Information Report on their website for information about the special educational provision they typically provide.

Preparing for moving on:

As mentioned above, schools, academies also must have a SENCO and colleges must have a similar person who is responsible for SEN Support. Ask them about what they can do to support you, visit the setting and ask questions about the support on offer. Not every setting will be able to offer the same range of SEN provision, so the important thing is to make sure you start these visits and questions as soon as you can.

If a school or college believes an EHC plan might be necessary to secure the special educational provision you require then they can either support you to request an EHC needs assessment or request this itself. If you already have an EHCP, your transition to your next setting will be planned in your annual review meeting (read our separate page on EHCPs and reviews for more information)


You may be able to get help from the local council help with transport costs to school, sixth form college or college of further education if you:

  • are a student of sixth form age with special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • live in West Sussex.

The Council does not normally offer help with transport costs for Post-16 students who do not have special educational needs and/or disabilities. In fact, help with transport costs is usually only given to young people who already have an Education, Health and Care Plan and even then, the Council do not guarantee to help.

If you think you may be eligible for help with your transport costs, you or your parent will need to make an application for transport every year and even if your application is successful, you or your family may still have to make a financial contribution.

You can read more about West Sussex County Council’s Transport Policy here.

Alternatively, you can contact them by email at

Or you can phone the transport team on 033 022 23588

Funding, bursaries, grants, student loans and other types of financial support

Course funding

Colleges, sixth forms and various other post-16 providers, such as academies, receive annual funding allocations from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for the provision of 16 to 19 education. Usually, if you have lived in the UK since birth, you will automatically qualify for a fully funded 16-19 course. If you are not sure if you meet the criteria for a funded course, you should discuss this with your college at your interview. You can read more about ESFA funding here.

16-19 Bursary Fund

The Government has a 16-19 Bursary Fund which gives some students financial assistance with the cost of items like books and equipment and essential trips. A bursary is a type of grant so, if you meet the eligibility criteria, you do not have to pay it back. Students or their families usually need to already receive government benefits (such as Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, etc.) to qualify for a 16-19 bursary. Click here to read general informationabout the 16-19 Bursary Fund

If you think you may be eligible for the 16-19 Bursary Fund, you will need to contact the Student Finance department in your college. They will be able to tell you what the bursary might cover and how and when you can apply.

Student Loans

If you do not qualify for a fully funded course, bursary or grant, but you still need financial help to pay for your studies and for the cost of being a student, you can consider applying for a student loan. The Student Finance department in your college will be able to advise you further.

It is important that you do not take out a loan without getting advice first, as once you have committed to the loan, you will usually have to repay it (once your earnings reach a certain amount) even if you do not finish your course.

Other types of financial help

If you are struggling to find enough money to pay for your studies or related items (such as travel to and from college), always speak to the Student Finance department in your college because if they cannot help you, they can usually refer you to someone who can. Here are some types of financial support that they may signpost you to.

Advanced Learner Loans (19+)

You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course at a college or training provider in England. Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

However, if you’re studying a level 3 qualification, you might be eligible for an ‘Adult Education Budget’ grant instead of an Advanced Learner Loan. Remember that a bursary or grant does not have to be repaid but a loan does. If you get a grant, you may not need a loan, so always speak to your college’s Student Finance department about grants before you apply for a loan.

Residential Support Scheme and Residential Bursary Fund

These help you pay for term-time accommodation costs if your course is far away from your home.

The Residential Bursary Fund helps people who are studying at a specialist institution, for example, one specialising in animal management.

The Residential Support Scheme is for students who are for studying away from their home because a course is not available locally.

To qualify for either of these funds you’ll need to be aged 16 to 18 years old on 31 August for the academic year starting the same year. You also have to meet residency criteria, which your college can check for you.

You might also qualify if you are 19 years old, but you need to be continuing a course you started when you were aged 16 to 18 years old. Students who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) might qualify up to the age of 25.

16-19 Tuition Fund

If you have fallen behind with your learning, your college may be able to help you access extra tuition via the Government’s 16-19 Tuition Fund. You can ask your college tutors if you think this might apply to you.

Part-time work

If you have decided to get a part-time job alongside your studies, you can speak to the college careers advisor for information about local part-time job opportunities and guidance on how to apply. However, think carefully about how many hours you can spare for part-time work, so that you have enough time and energy to concentrate on your studies.

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