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Finding the right course

Finding the right course

Finding the right course at the right level for learners with SEND is often confusing. 

The first thing you will need to consider is the “level” of course the young person is looking for. This table gives you a guide to the level your young person may be aiming for, based on their prior attainment:

If the young person is looking at a Level 1 course or higher, you need to look at the course details under the career area they would like to follow (for example Construction, Health and Social Care and so on). Most of these areas will have courses at Level 1, 2 or 3 with a mixture of practical skills and some theory.  Where a course is very practical, the young person may need to start a Level 1 even though they might have the GCSEs to get onto a Level 3 course. 

A levels and T Levels are Level 3 qualifications.  A Levels will be focused on a particular subject; students normally study at least 3 subjects.  T Levels are focused on a broad sector area – e.g. Science, Education and Childcare – and aim to give young people skills to go straight into work or progress to Higher Education.   There are also Diplomas at Level 3 that focus on a particular area – for example Art and Design or Business. These will have a mixture of practical and theory work.  Students only pick one T Level or Diploma course.  You will then need to discuss what extra support the college can give your young person and include this in your Moving Into Adulthood plan.


For students at Level 1 or Entry level, you need to look at the Supported Learning or Foundation Learning courses on college websites or brochures.

Courses tend to fall into the following areas:

Work Skills – will aim to develop young people’s general skills they need for employment – such as communication, team working and will also include things like job searching, preparing for interviews, writing CVs.  Course titles may be things like “Pathway to Work”

Job Training – these may be courses where students will start to learn practical skills needed for future training or employment.  They may have the chance to experience several different areas – e.g. animal care, horticulture, hospitality – so that they can progress onto a course that develops these skills more. Course titles may be something like “Skills for Sport and Leisure”.

Life Skills - these are courses that support young people to develop essential skills for independent living – e.g. travelling, cooking, budgeting etc. Course titles may be something like “Pathway to Adulthood” “Future Choices”.

Supported Internships -these are full time courses to help young people with an EHCP aged 16-24 to develop the skills needed to get into paid permanent employment.  They will be supported in a real life work environment for up to a year. Normally young people will start on a college course and move into a Supported Internship once they are ready.

All these courses will also have the chance to continue with improving Maths, English and ICT skills.

Many young people have different levels of ability in different areas, so these courses should be tailored to ensure that their needs are meet.  For example, their Life Skills may be at Entry Level 3, whilst their Maths and English may be Level 1. 

You will need to talk to the course provider and your school careers adviser to discuss in detail the right course for your young person.  Course choices should also be detailed in your young person’s Moving Into Adulthood Plan.


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