The voice of specialist further education

About Natspec

Who we are

Natspec is the membership association for organisations which offer specialist further education and training for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

Our vision

Our vision is that all young people with learning difficulties or disabilities can access high quality education and training, which meets their individual needs and supports their aspirations for skills, work and life.

What we do

Natspec exists to improve Further Education (FE) for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We promote specialism and personalisation within a diverse range of FE and training provision. This education should broaden their choice, support their aspirations, represent their best interests and provide a social return on investment.

Our core activities: we

  1. Support and inform our members to raise the quality of provision. We provide guidance, briefings, events, conferences and networks to our members. We also help our members provide advice and guidance to young people, their families and supporters.
  2. Advocate for our members and influence policy. We represent members to government, funding agencies and other stakeholders, including through the use of student voice. We promote the work of our members through our directory, website, Natspec Highlights, social media and articles to highlight the positive difference members can make to the lives of young people with SEND.
  3. Support the wider FE sector. We provide training and development through the Natspec Transform and TechAbility services. Our projects and partnerships support professionals throughout the sector. We provide opportunities for students to engage in inter-college activities such as the Natspec Games and Student Parliament. We also contribute to the work of other organisations who seek to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Disability Confident

As part of its on-going determination to increase opportunities for disabled people to find and retain jobs, Natspec has signed up to the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We are committed to offering work experience and work shadowing opportunities for college students.

Our values

Natspec members believe that young people with learning difficulties or disabilities should be encouraged to have high aspirations for the future, and should be able to choose the college that will best enable them to achieve their goals.

What our members provide

Member colleges provide:

  • Challenging but safe adult environments which encourage students to develop personally and socially
  • Specialist multi-disciplinary teams with expertise in teaching, learning support, therapies and assistive technologies which enable students to learn effectively
  • High quality, personalised Study Programmes linked to Education, Health and Care plans, which support students to achieve their aspirations for work or higher education; living more independently with greater choice and control; having friendships, supportive relationships and being involved in the community, and leading a healthy lifestyle
  • Opportunities for students to develop their communication skills, express their views, and make choices and decisions.

What we promote

To promote continuing improvement and innovation, member colleges:

  • Work in partnership with students and their families, with other members, with other education and training providers, and with local and national agencies
  • Ensure that staff are suitably experienced and qualified and have regular opportunities to update their professional practice.


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