The voice of specialist further education

SEND Workforce Development: Study Programmes

Study Programmes: resources to support improved curriculum design and delivery

In 2017-18, Natspec and ACER led a project, funded by the Education and Training Foundation on behalf of the Department for Education, to help providers design and deliver high quality study programmes that support learners with SEND to achieve ambitious outcomes and prepare them for further or higher education, employment and fulfilling adult lives.

The project was open to all providers in the FE and Skills sector and concerned with study programmes for learners with and without EHC Plans and for those in discrete and mainstream provision.  It included

  • support for 14 collaborative development projects bringing together groups of providers and other partners to tackle their own improvement priorities
  • delivery of five practical webinars
  • development of three interactive self-led learning resources
  • two innovative practice dissemination events.

Providers involved in the collaborative development projects took part in dissemination events in Birmingham and London where they showcased the work they had undertaken.  This included sharing a huge range of resources developed during their projects, which they have kindly agreed to share with the wider sector.

Click here for a full summary of the material produced in this project.


Webinar 1: RARPA – practical advice, guidance and tips on creating an effective, robust and learner-centred RARPA process within an FE setting

View a recording of this webinar

Webinar 2:  ‘First steps to setting up a Supported Internship’

View a recording of this webinar

Webinar 3: Achieving Skills Excellence – Competition activity in the curriculum: raising the standard of study programmes for students with SEND

View a recording of this webinar

Webinar 4: Assistive Technology to Support Learners with SEND – where to start?

View a recording of this webinar

Webinar 5: Making Maths Accessible for Learners with SEND: Effective techniques for developing maths skills, confidence and engagement.

View a recording of this webinar

Interactive self-guided learning resources

These mini-modules have been developed to support learning at a time and pace to fit with practitioners’ busy working lives.

  1. External review of RARPA through peer review
  2. Improving access to apprenticeships
  3. Personalising study programmes

Education & Training Foundation toolkit for SEND FE

Over the course of several months, Natspec has been working closely with our associates and the ETF to create a set of toolkits aimed at SEND professionals responsible for curriculum planning in specialist FE.

Here are the toolkits available to access for free.

Supported internship leaflet

Supported internships are incredibly valuable for young people with SEND to develop confidence, communications and key employability skills. Engaging employers from the outset isn’t always easy and straightforward for providers, so here’s a link where you can download a customisable leaflet explaining supported internships to employers.

Working with learning support assistants

Learning support assistants are a valuable resource in SEND provision – and the most expensive too which is why effective use of this resource is essential. We have put together an in-house development activity to help you consider how to make the most of the LSAs in your setting. Get access here.

Competition in the vocational curriculum

Watch the introductory video

Competition activity is a great way to raise aspirations, improve learners’ skills and employment prospects, strengthen learning programmes and introduce an element of excitement into the vocational curriculum.  While competition activity is relatively well-established as a feature of the curriculum at higher levels, it is less commonly used with learners at Entry level and Level 1.  However, providers who have been exploring the use of competition with learners with SEND report that it is just as beneficial for their learners – and easy to implement.

Download the toolkit

Co-creation of curriculum

Co-creating the curriculum is a great way to involve learners in deciding what to learn and how they might be taught. This toolkit has been designed to help curriculum managers and tutors in FE settings to explore co-creation, explain the concept to colleagues and engage their learners with SEND in co-creating their curriculum in a meaningful way. Learn more and access the toolkit here.

View other toolkits and resources at the ETF

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