The voice of specialist further education

Become a member – Specialist Colleges

To become a Natspec member, your organisation must be:

  • an ESFA-funded specialist post-16 institution (SPI) in England
  • a specialist FE college in Wales
  • an equivalent organisation in Scotland or Northern Ireland
  • another specialist provider providing state-funded Further Education (post-school), where the education provision has been established specifically for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and the significant majority of students have Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) (or equivalent in Wales and Scotland). In England, the provider must have at least 10 students with the provision named in their EHCPs.

If you are unsure whether your organisation is eligible, please contact

Once your membership application has been accepted, all staff working for the member-qualifying organisation will have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits below.


Natspec represents member organisations  – we make sure your voice and views are heard at national and local government, across a range of stakeholders and organisations. In addition, membership provides benefits to staff in your organisation. Whether you wish to make use of the heavily discounted rates for our specialist training events, take advantage of our expert consultants to support you in the development of your staff or organisation, or gain access to the wide network of other colleagues across the membership, you’ll be able to find something in our list below.

If there’s something else you think we might be able to help with, please get in touch with

Be represented at local, regional, and national levels

  • Natspec is the voice of specialist FE: we represent you and respond to Government policy proposals and consultations
  • We work in partnership with a wide range of national organisations within the FE system, and make contributions to several multi-agency groups
  • We influence government and national bodies to support use of technology by learners
  • Your college has a dedicated page on the Natspec website, sharing details about your organisation to prospective learners and their parents.
  • Your college is included in the Natspec online directory. Details of the directory are sent to careers advisers, schools and LAs, and widely used by young people and their families
  • You can enter the annual Natspec Innovation Awards which recognise and celebrate innovative practice in the specialist FE sector
  • You can promote your good news stories, achievements, and case studies in our Natspec Highlights and other news publications
  • You have full voting rights to select our Board members and the opportunity to stand as a director

Network with peers across the sector, sharing best practice and exchanging ideas

  • Attend free regular member-only online network meetings bringing together staff who work in roles related to fundraising, HR, care, publicity, finance, CPD, preparing learners for employment, and more
  • Annual member-only events such as a principals’ forum and events to support quality improvement
  • Termly regional meetings, facilitated by the Natspec Regional Directors
  • Ad-hoc member-only online meetings to share views on current issues or hot topics
  • Free attendance at our annual Peer Exchange Week which includes a range of online peer exchange sessions on topics of interest to specialist college staff across a variety of job roles
  • Opportunity for one member of staff to become a TechAbility Champion, gaining access to a community interested in getting the best support for learners through regular meetings, trial licenses from suppliers, and project collaboration opportunities
  • Access to significantly discounted membership to AoC and AoC Sport
  • Benchmarking opportunities with other members and cross-sector projects

Develop your organisation and your staff with expert training, events and consultancy

  • Receive significant discounts across our Transform and TechAbility training offer:
    • At least 30% discount on all Transform online training – designed for managers, teachers and support staff covering a range of topics including SEND leadership; RARPA; employability; the quality of teaching, learning, assessment and support; developing a curriculum for learners with PMLD; essential information for those new to the sector; and the ILR
    • At least 30% discount for TechAbility online training – designed to train staff to make more effective use of technology to support learners. Aimed at teaching and support staff, leadership, therapists, and Assistive Technologists
    • Up to 20% discount on training delivered directly to your organisation. Most of our training is available to be adapted to in-house training, just consult the relevant training page for more information
  • Free or heavily discounted places at our annual conferences:
    • all member organisations receive one free 2-day residential place at our annual national conference, plus a significant discount across all ticket options for additional attendees
    • significant discounts at our annual TechAbility Conference; essential CPD for anyone using technology to support disabled learners
  • Free webinars where experts from across the specialist sector contribute their knowledge on different topics
  • Free training and guidance videos available on our YouTube channel
  • One free Assistive Technology consultation undertaken by an experienced member of TechAbility staff. This consists of an online meeting, a site visit, and a report
  • Free consultancy support to help with an appeal if your college loses money as a result of the ESFA condition of funding
  • 15% discount on individual learner assessments, carried out by an experienced Assistive Technology assessor
  • Significantly discounted access to other expert bespoke consultancy services to support you with a wide array of topics and issues
  • Access to the Natspec coaching service where you’ll be matched with an experienced coach on an individual basis
  • Access to services that help you reflect on the quality and effectiveness of your provision, such as health checks and quality reviews

Keep updated on the latest advice, guidance and news from across the sector

  • Advice, support and guidance on a wide range of topics including:
    • the latest policy developments and funding information
    • curriculum and qualification issues
    • fulfilling statutory obligations such as the ILR
  • Access to Quality Times: a biannual publication including articles on different aspects of quality improvement
  • A fortnightly CEO briefing including updates on policy, issues, and opportunities of relevance to the sector

Involve your learners in events, projects, and consultations

  • Join us at Natspec Games to get your learners’ participating in a variety of sports and activities, either at one of our in-person, member-hosted events, or attend our online sessions during the virtual games week
  • Free attendance at our twice-yearly Student Voice Parliament where you can showcase the work of your student council, network with others, and discuss issues affecting learners, with learners
  • Chances throughout the year for learners to take part in design challenges such as designing our Natspec Award trophies, conference table centrepieces, or newsletter front covers
  • Opportunities to involve your learners in some our events throughout the year, such as our Natspec National Conference. Whether your students are interested in speaking at an event, volunteering on the day, or performing for our delegates, we’d love to discuss possibilities with you.


Membership is charged on a yearly basis, running from April 1 to March 31. Membership costs are dependent on the total number of learners educated within your provision:

  • Up to 30 learners: £1,750
  • 31 – 65 learners: £2,950
  • 66 – 100 learners: £4,200
  • 101+ learners: £5,500

Membership fees are not subject to VAT.


Apply for Natspec Membership: for specialist providers

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