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Post 16 options for students with SEND

When a young person leaves school at 16 - 19 years, they are likely to have some or all of the following options available to them depending on their ability, independence and support needs:

  • Further education at a college or training provider to follow a study programme, including Independent Specialist Colleges (ISCs).
  • Apprenticeship- An apprenticeship is a way to gain the skills, knowledge and experience you need to get into many careers. They combine work, training and study, letting you ‘earn while you learn’. Apprenticeships are available across a range of areas. Further information can be found here.
  • Traineeship- Usually a 6 month programme made up of extended work experience working towards qualifications. A traineeship will normally lead to an apprenticeship or work.
  • Supported Internship- Supported Internships are a study programme for learners with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Learners will have a work placement and complete relevant qualifications alongside their placement. More information about Liverpool’s Supported Internship programme.
  • Employment - open, supported or voluntary.
  • Social Care options - community based day activities - this could include day centres, part-time college, social firms, community leisure or sport/fitness activities and supported living/specialist residential care for those who are eligible for services.

Study programmes

All 16 to 19 study programmes should give students a structured and challenging learning programme that helps them make progress towards their career plans. Study programmes should be tailored but will usually combine the elements below:

  • Academic, applied or vocational qualifications that stretch students and prepare them for education at the next level or to employment
  • English and maths where students have not yet achieved a GCSE grade 4 or grade C
  • Work experience to give young people the opportunity to develop their career choices and to apply their skills in real working conditions
  • Other non-qualification activity to develop students’ character, skills, attitudes and confidence, and to support progression

If a young person needs further support in their further education setting, the setting can apply to the Local Authority for high needs funding.

A study programme should help you prepare for adulthood and give you the skills that you need to achieve your aspirations. For resources and support on this, you can visit the Preparing for Adulthood website




Liverpool Local Authority is committed to working with Greater Merseyside Learning Partnership Forum ( and other partners to develop opportunities for employment and training that meet the needs of students with SEND in Liverpool.

There are also a number of independent specialist colleges (ISC) which may be appropriate. For further information on specialist colleges and what to look for in them visit The Association of National Specialist Colleges Website (Natspec).

To consider a placement at an ISC, a young person must have an Education, Health and Care Plan. The local authority will work with the young person and their family to explore all local options before considering an independent placement. If an independent placement is requested, the setting will be expected to complete an application form as set out in the post-16 high needs funding page.

Young people with SEND who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Career Connect works will young people 16-18 who are NEET and 19-24 year olds who are NEET with an Education, Health and Care Plan. If you would like to access the service, you can get in touch with Career Connect through their website or, if you have an Education, Health and Care Plan, you can be referred through the SEN Team.

Social Care options 

Visit Liverpool City Council Website for more Social Care options.