Feb 07, 2022 by Kirsten Jones

Keeping the education and training needs of young people at the heart of decision-making

Ensuring young people can progress to the college or training provider that is right for them at the time that is right for them is key to ensuring successful post-16 outcomes.

Individualised transition planning

Well planned and clear pathways to ambitious and high-quality programmes of study are especially important for young people with complex additional learning needs. These young people, and their parents, rely on a chain of decisions being made by different professionals before transition plans can be confirmed.

Currently, most young people with ALN attending special schools don’t move on from school until they are aged 19. At this point they will typically progress to either a regional mainstream further education college (referred to in the ALN legislation as a Further Education Institution or FEI) or a specialist further education college (referred to in the new legislation as an Independent Special Post-16 Institution or ISPI).

By placing learners’ needs, views, wishes and feelings at the centre of processes, we believe ALN transformation gives young people with complex needs, their parents, education and local authority professionals the opportunity to work together in truly person-centred ways. Individualised transition planning, which aims to support young peoples to achieve their aspirations and goals, will ensure they are best equipped to manage the demands of their post-college lives.

Specialist further education colleges 

For a small minority of young people each year, the complexity of the additional learning needs they have means that a mainstream further education college is not an option. For these young people the highly specialist approaches that integrate therapeutic and learning programmes offered by specialist further education colleges may be an appropriate post-school option. Details of the location of specialist further education colleges in Wales are available on the Natspec website and the Natspec Colleges Directory provides further information. 

Partnership working

Our vision is that all young people with learning difficulties or disabilities can access high quality education and training, which meets their needs and supports their aspirations for skills, work and life.  Natspec is keen to improve specialist provision across all providers. We are the membership association for organisations which offer specialist further education and training for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We support the wider further education sector through providing training and development through TechAbility and Natspec Transform.

We believe that young people with complex ALN should be given equitable opportunities to benefit from the post-school education and training that Wales has to offer. By putting individuals’ education and training needs at the forefront of decision making, the new legislation opens the doors to more joined up ways of working and we look forward to playing our role in realising the aims of the reforms.

For more information email Kirsten.jones@natspec.org.uk or visit Natspec.org.uk

Kirsten Jones, Policy Officer (Wales) Natspec