Information for SEND students

Pathways, progression opportunities, and support services for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The following information will provide an overview of opportunities outside of those of the mainstream. That is not to say, however, that young people with SEND cannot follow mainstream pathways; there are many special educational needs and disabilities, which affect individuals to varying degrees.

Below are some of the main pathways and progression opportunities, but it is far from complete.  At the point of writing, these pathways were available; however, please check that this is still the case, as things can change.  Also, please note that the school is not promoting or recommending any of the providers, and it is important to make further enquiries and, where appropriate, arrange a visit with your child.

For some of the opportunities below a young person will need to have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) in order to access specialist provision. Additional considerations should be given to location, transport, and funding.

Post 16 Educational Options

Colleges of Further Education (FE) normally have specialist courses for SEND pupils.

Chesterfield College currently offer Entry Level and Level 1 courses in life and living skills, and employability.

Vision West Nottinghamshire College based in Mansfield, offer Foundation Learning courses from Entry Level up to Level 1.

FE colleges usually have ‘additional needs support teams’ who will assess the levels of support required by a young person on their mainstream courses.

Post 16 Specialist Colleges

Hope Valley College (Hope, Derbyshire) has a specialist Post 16 Pathways programme. 

Alderwasley Hall School and Sixth Form Centre, based in Derbyshire close to Matlock, provide education for day and residential pupils aged 5 to 20. They aim to transform the lives of young people with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pathological Demand Avoidance, and Developmental Language Disorder. They are also experienced in meeting associated diagnoses and needs, such as selective mutism, anxieties and phobias.

Landmarks Specialist College located in Eckington, offer a range of programmes including further education choices in hospitality and catering, horticulture, equestrian studies, Duke of Edinburgh, art, enterprise, retail, and internal work experience. 

Post 16 study programmes

Chesterfield based Juniper Training offer the Mint Programme for young people up to the age of 24 who have an EHCP.  Suitable for young people who may be unsure of the next steps in their career and who would benefit from having access to a variety of opportunities in different occupational areas of interest in order to make an informed choice about their future. Juniper Training also offer courses in specific vocational pathways in retail, childcare, business administration, customer service, and roofing/cladding, again for 16-24 year olds with an EHCP. 

Derbyshire County Council offer the ‘Learning for 14-19 years olds’ programme. This programme is for students who may find a busy college too much for them. These are individualised programmes to allow learners in smaller groups to develop their skills and confidence and encourage progression to further learning, volunteering and employment. 

Post 16 Training Opportunities

Supported internships offer young people, aged 16-24 with a learning difficulty or disability, including those on the autistic spectrum, the opportunity to develop the skills and confidence to gain employment, through real life work opportunities. There is also support with other work-related issues such as preparing a CV, interview preparation, job searching, and gaining qualifications needed for the job, such as food hygiene.

These are a great choice for those who learn best by ‘doing’, as most of the learning takes place in a work environment with the individualised support of a job coach. These internships support not only the young person but also the employer, until the individual can do the job for themselves.

There are no formal academic requirements, just a desire and willingness to work and an Education, Health and Care plan. Completion of the study programme does not affect benefits or an EHCP.

The internships last at least six months, but some can last up to two years, giving young people who need more support a chance to try out different roles and then spend an extended time in a given job.

Unlike apprenticeships, they are not paid but the experience gained could help a young person move on to an apprenticeship or other paid work.

Below is a list of some of the providers of supported internships across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire:

Landmarks Specialist College – although their main base is in Eckington they cover Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. 

Portland College

Nottingham College 

Project Search – based at Nottingham City Hospital. 

Vision West Nottinghamshire College

Chesterfield College