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Post-16 Special Educational Needs FAQs

Published Friday, May 17, 2019

What is the law around post-16 SEND? What are EHC plans? What support can those age 16-25 get? How many receive support? How is it funded? How are disputes handled? How does the system in higher education differ?

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What is the law around post-16 SEND? What are EHC plans? What support can those age 16-25 get? How many receive support? How is it funded? How are disputes handled? How does the system in higher education differ?

The provision and funding of support for post-16 students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is complicated and is different to support for school age students.

The current framework of support was introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. Under this new framework the system of Statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) for over 16s, was replaced by a single overarching system of support for students from 0-25 years of age and SEN statements and LDAs were replaced by Education Health and Care (EHC) plans.

Support for post -16 students is provided by different sources and in different forms depending on the level of support needed. Students with low level needs may be provided with support in the form of ‘SEN support’ – students with more complex high needs will be supported through provision set out in an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.

In January 2018 there were 20,450 pupils in state-funded schools aged 16+ who were on SEN support and a further 19,100 with EHC plans or statements.

A total of 84,260 young people aged 16-25 had EHC plans (or statements of SEN) in January 2018. The majority (70,100) were aged 16-19. The total number has increased rapidly since the new legal framework came into force in 2014.

Students in higher education are supported by a completely different system of institutional support and government funded Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).

56,900 students from England received DSA in 2016/17, down from a recent peak of just over 60,000 in 2013/14.

This briefing paper answers some frequently asked questions about the provision of support for post-16 students with SEND.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8561

Authors: Susan Hubble; Paul Bolton

Topics: Further education, Higher education, Students

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