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Post 16, Further and Higher Education

This page provides helpful information and advice on post 16, further and higher education including signposting to services and organisations who can offer support.

Post 16, Further and Higher Education Options

Post-16 Education

The law says that you must stay at school until the end of Year 11 - which will usually be when you are aged 16.  The Government expects that you will stay in some kind of education, training or employment with training until you are at least 18 but there are various ways in which you can do this. Here are some of the options which may be available to you at the end of Year 11. Your school should provide you with further information, advice and support.

Staying on at school

If you are in a mainstream school, it may be possible for you to stay there for a further two years to attend sixth form.  Most young people in mainstream school sixth forms study A levels over a two-year period but there may be other options available.  Staff at school will be able to advise you about what study programmes may be available to you.

If you are in a maintained Special School or Academy in Nottinghamshire you can leave at the end of Year 11, but most young people stay on for Years 12 and 13.  Your study programme should include subjects that help prepare you for adulthood including, where appropriate, travel training, money management and careers advice.  You should also study for qualifications that recognise the skills you have acquired.

If you are in an Independent Non-Maintained School, or Alternative Provision, discussions about appropriate post-16 options will take place at your annual review no later than Year 11 and preferably in Year 10.

Going to College

There are two types of colleges:

Mainstream Colleges

Mainstream colleges offer a wide range of courses and qualifications for young people leaving school and for adults and employers.  The mainstream general Further Education colleges in Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas are:

Most of the large colleges offer provision specially designed for young people with special educational needs.  This is often delivered in a separate unit and offers small group sizes and additional support.  Your programme of study will typically combine a work-related area such as business administration, catering or construction with functional skills in Maths and English.  If appropriate you may also be able to learn some of the skills that will help you in adult life including money management, independent travel and healthy living.

Many young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are able to access the main college curriculum studying subjects from art and design to engineering.  These courses will generally have entry requirements in terms of qualifications achieved at school.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Notts Help Yourself Website - Frequently Asked Questions about Mainstream Colleges

Independent Specialist Colleges (ISCs)

Independent Specialist Colleges (ISCs) provide support for learners with learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities.  In Nottinghamshire, there is only one ISC - Portland College - based in Mansfield.

However, learners may be able to apply for ISCs in neighbouring areas which are within daily travelling distance.  These are:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Notts Help Yourself Website - Frequently Asked Questions about Specialist Colleges

Going to University

Universities offer the opportunity to study for a higher education qualification such as a degree. Thousands of students with disabilities apply through UCAS each year to study at a university in the UK, and access a range of support to help them succeed. Research is vital to making your choices and there is alot to think about:

  • The University website is a good starting point: In most instances, the provider’s website will be your starting point. Here, you will be able to easily find information and advice for disabled students, and those with mental health conditions, long-term illnesses, and learning differences. This may include information about learning and assessment methods, support provided, and the contact details of the disability, mental health, and/or wellbeing support teams.If you are cannot find the information you need, contact student support services at the university, who will be able to help


  • Disability Support Teams: To help you reach your full potential, most universities and colleges have disability support teams and mental health and wellbeing advisers. They are always happy to speak to applicants about support and answer any questions you may have – even if you choose not to apply there. This could include advice about funding (including Disabled Students’ Allowances), and about academic and lifestyle support and facilities at that university. You will find the contact details of the student support teams on the university website.


  • Open days are a valuable way to find out about a university or college first-hand – you can tour the facilities, speak to staff and current students, and really get a feel for whether you would like to study there. Lots of universities offer virtual open days too, so if you can’t visit in person, you don’t have to miss out.


Making an application

Don’t forget to tell the university or college about any impairment or condition on your UCAS application – this helps them to put the support in place ready for your arrival. This information is not used to make a decision on your application and it is only shared with those involved in supporting you, or making the arrangements for your support.

UCAS provide some very useful information for students with special educational needs and disabilities making an application including a set of videos you can watch. To access this information please click here: UCAS


Frequently Asked Questions

UCAS Website - Support for Disabled Students Frequently Asked Questions


Support for Students with Disabilities

Support for Students with Disabiliites

Universities and colleges are increasingly aware of the needs of students with a disability and students with a learning difficulty. They can provide support in a number of ways and you may be able to get extra financial help.

Universities and higher education colleges must make provision for students with disabilities. 

Support provided by colleges and universities can include:

  • accommodation adapted for the needs of students with disabilities
  • professional care staff
  • help from volunteers

Each university or college should publish a 'disability statement' setting out how it provides support. You can ask to see a copy of this statement, as well as looking on its website to see details of its policies.

Every university or college has a disability advisor or learning support coordinator to help you get the most out of your time in higher education. They can tell you about the support available, for example, equipment to help you study.

You may find it useful to contact your university or college's disability adviser or disability coordinator before you make a final decision about where to study. It's also a good idea to go and check the institution out for yourself.

When applying to a university, you don't have to tell them about your disability but you will need to do so to get additional support or funding.

Help whilst you are studying

There are many things that colleages or universities can do to help students with disabilities, including:

  • providing course materials in Braille and other accessible formats
  • making sure buildings and facilities are accessible
  • encouraging flexible teaching methods
  • providing support during exams
  • allowing additional time to complete courses

You may also need help on a day-to-day basis to help you study. This could be someone to:

  • interpret words into sign language
  • take notes for you
  • write down your words, for example, in an exam
  • help you overcome physical barriers

It's worth contacting your disability advisor or disability co-ordinator soon after you arrive at university or college so you can find out about the support available.

If you're currently in further education, you can get advice and guidance from your teacher or college about the courses, colleges or universities you are interested in.

Financial Support

In addition to your student finance arrangements, you may also be eligible for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) which help cover some of the extra study-related costs you incur due to a physical or mental health condition, or learning difference. This is a non-repayable allowance which is in addition to other student finance.

Start applying for DSAs as soon as possible – you don’t need a confirmed university place to apply.

Visit the Diversity and Ability website for lots of straightforward advice on what DSAs cover and how to apply.

Note: for students starting courses from September 2020, there are some changes to the way DSAs are calculated – visit the Government website for full details.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for additional funding and support – find out more about scholarships, grants and bursaries on the UCAS website.

Frequently Asked Questions

UCAS Website - Support for Disabled Students Frequently Asked Questions

Post 16, Further and Higher Education Organisations

Please click here Post 16, Further and Higher Education Organisations or on the icon below to access details of post 16, further and higher education organisations:

Post 16, Further and Higher Education Organisation

Further Education Funding

Depending on your circumstances and the course you are studying you may be eligble for different types of funding.

You may be able to get help with the costs of:

  • your course;
  • day-to-day living costs;
  • childcare.

You can also access free training if you are unemployed and:

You can find out further information on further education funding and what you may be entitled to on the Government Website.

16-19 Bursary Fund

You could get a bursary to help with education-related costs if you’re aged 16 to 19 and:

  • studying at a publicly funded school or college in England - not a university
  • on a training course, including unpaid work experience

A publicly funded school is one that does not charge you for attending it.

You can find out further information on the 16-19 Bursary Fund on the Government Website.

Advanced Learner Loan

If you are aged 19+ and thinking about further education or training you might qualify for an advanced learner loan.

Whether you qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan depends on your:

  • course;
  • college or training provider;
  • age;
  • nationality or residency status;

You can find out further information on the Advanced Learner Loan on the Government Website.

Higher Education Funding

Higher education students living in England, who meet certain criteria, can apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) if they have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia.These allowances cover extra disability-related costs or expenses you have while studying which are over and above those provided as reasonable adjustments by the college or university.

You can find out information on the Disabled Students Allowance, including eligbility and how to apply, on the Government Website.

Independent Travel Training

What is Independent Travel Training ?

Independent Travel Training (ITT) is the delivery of training by staff in schools, colleges, voluntary services and day care services for people who are restricted in their ability to travel unassisted on public transport because of learning or physical disabilities.

Who is Independent Travel Training for?

Independent Travel Training is for people of any age who have learning or physical disabilities, which means they are unable, or are restricted in their ability, to travel unassisted on public transport. The ITT team work with the school, college or provider to deliver the training and can fit this in to the curriculum.

What can Independent Travel Training do for me?

On completion of the programme, participants should be able to travel independently to local and more widespread landmarks, school/college, work, work experience and back home.

Watch the video below on how travel training has enabled one young person to access work experience:

TRAVEL TRAINING FILM from Nottinghamshire Local Offer on Vimeo.

Further information

Find out more on Nottinghamshire County Council's website or by contacting the Independent Travel Training team:

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