Leaving college can feel like ‘falling off a cliff-edge’ to young people with more complex needs. There is too little post-college support for getting and keeping jobs, for accessing and contributing to their communities and for enabling young people to enjoy fulfilling social lives. There is a lack of suitable accommodation and too few opportunities to engage in adult learning. Without these, young people with complex needs risk losing the skills and behaviours developed at college and government gets a poor return on its investment in their education.
Natspec is calling for:
Better transition arrangements for college leavers
Local inclusion plans / local offers to include information about services/provision to support young people with learning difficulties and / or disabilities after they leave full-time education.
Local authority coordinated, multi-agency post-college planning at least a term ahead of the education leaving date of a young person with ongoing support needs and before any EHC Plan in England can be ceased.
Funding and joint commissioning arrangements to support the increased involvement of social services and reduced educational input during a young person’s last term in college.
Clarity about the circumstances in which is it appropriate to cease an EHC plan and a requirement for LAs to give notice in writing of their intention to cease a plan which includes a justification for the decision and information on how it can be challenged.
More support into employment
Access to a trained specialist careers adviser for all students with learning difficulties and / or disabilities.
Reform of UK benefits system to address disincentives to work for young people with a disability and improved messaging to families.
Increase in the number of disability employment advisers trained in supported employment principles and practices.
More appropriate living arrangements
Investment in a range of suitable accommodation options for young people for learners with learning difficulties and / or disabilities that support their ability to live with other young people in the area of their choice.
More lifelong learning
A fixed minimum proportion of the adult education budget to be spent in every local area on provision for people with learning disabilities.