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Education and Employment

Post 16 further education

The majority of young people with SEND leaving school after year 11, with either SEN Support or an EHC Plan, will access a local further education or sixth form college. Further education and sixth form colleges have a statutory responsibility to meet the needs of young people with SEND. There is a named person who oversees SEND provision and co-ordinates support similar to the role of the school SENCo.

Colleges must use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision a young person needs, and to make reasonable adjustments to prevent them being placed at a substantial disadvantage. Colleges should offer an inclusive approach to learning and teaching, with high quality teaching, differentiated for individuals.

Wakefield College

Our local Wakefield College offers a wide variety of courses from pre-entry to at least level 3; academic, vocational, work preparation and independent living; all colleges support young people with SEN and many, offer personalised support around care, medical and therapy support, and further enable learners with complex and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

Read more about Wakefield College courses and pathways to find out what they offer.

Families are welcome to visit any of the settings on their open evenings. The providers themselves recommend this as a first step. If you have made a choice or are trying to decide between two options you can invite the providers to your Year 10 or 11 Preparing for Adulthood Annual Review.

To arrange a visit families can ring the provider directly, or speak to the Connexions Advisor or SENDIASS.  


From Year 12, a full time course, as defined by the Education Funding Agency, typically ranges between 540 and 600 guided learning hours per year. This equates to approximately 16 hours per week and many college full time programmes are run over 3 or 4 days.

Sixth forms and colleges are expected to offer coherent study programmes that stretch and progress young people to enable the best possible outcomes in adult life. They should enable young people to progress to a higher level of study than their prior attainment, take rigorous substantial qualifications, study English and Maths, and participate in meaningful work experience and non-qualification activity. Young people should not be repeating learning they have already completed successfully.

Read more about Wakefield College courses and pathways to find out what they offer.

For young people not taking qualifications their study programmes should focus on high quality work experience and on non-qualification activity which prepares them well for employment, independent living, being healthy adults and participating in society. It is anticipated that most programmes will include accredited learning.

Some young people with SEN, attending either a local mainstream or special school for their secondary education, will continue into the sixth form or post-16 provision of the school, if this is available. Other young people may join these schools for year 12, place dependent. Others may leave and attend a local further education or sixth form college.

Search a list of these providers here

Work based learning opportunities are offered by a number of colleges and training providers across Wakefield. These include:


These are paid jobs that incorporate training, leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Apprentices earn as they learn and gain practical skills in the workplace. Many lead to highly skilled careers. Apprenticeships - are a different form of training because they only last for a set time. This could be between one to four years, the young person gets paid and has holiday time whilst they learn. The employer and the training provider are each responsible for aspects of the EHC Plan outcomes. Young people with EHC Plans can retain their EHC Plan when on an apprenticeship.


These are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but don’t yet have appropriate skills or experience. They last for a maximum of six months and include core components of work preparation training, English and Maths (unless GCSE 1-4* standard has already been achieved) and a high quality work experience placement. They are currently open to young people aged 16 to 24, including those with EHC Plans. Young people with EHC plans can retain their plan when undertaking a traineeship.

Supported internships:

These are structured study programmes for young people who retain their EHC Plan’s and based primarily at an employer. They enable young people to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace. Supported internships are unpaid work placements, and last for a minimum of six months/year. Wherever possible, they support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. Alongside their time at the employer, young people complete a personalised study programme which includes the opportunity to study for relevant substantial qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths

Project SEARCH Wakefield

Project SEARCH Wakefield is a unique pre-employment programme (Supported Internship) based at Pinderfields Hospital and NEXT Distribution Centre which helps young people with SEND gain the skills they need to acquire meaningful paid jobs.

Project Search aims to promote social inclusion, increase confidence and overall independence for individuals aged 16 plus with SEND. The internship provides specialist support for young people with barriers to finding and remaining in work through training, assessment and individual development.

Additionally, Project Search post support aims to enable an employee to remain in work and offer support with sourcing adaptations/further training in the workplace.

Wakefield Project SEARCH consists of, 2 Qualified Teaching staff for both sites at Next and Pinderfields Hospital and 4 dedicated Job Coaches.

The programmes remit includes,

  • Supported voluntary placements
  • Travel training (if required)
  • On-the-job support through the Job Coaches
  • Benefit guidance where possible
  • Sign posting to other agencies/organisations
  • Job search support including 1:1 and group job search, CV building, completing application forms and interview techniques
  • Support while attending interviews
  • Support during classroom accredited training
  • Assist in the transition between Children’s Services/education into Adult Services

You can read a case study on a young man and how his Supported Internship led to paid employment as well as finding out more about our supported internship pathway here.

Read more about Wakefield College courses and pathways to find out what they offer.

This delivers two strands under one service – Employability and Supported Employment. The Employment Hub supports the skills and agenda of Wakefield and promotes social inclusion within communities by opening up a career pathway to sustainable and substantive employment and further and higher education for young people with SEND 16 plus.


The SEND Careers Hub has been designed to encourage schools and colleges to work in partnership, creating a sustainable network of teachers, careers leads and local employers where best practice is shared, careers support can be strengthened and work experience and training opportunities are offered. There are 29 hub members, consisting of 19 mainstream schools, 2 FE colleges, 2 PRU and 6 SEND providers, based across the Leeds City Region;  

  • Leeds  
  • Wakefield 
  • York  
  • Calderdale  


The Wakefield schools  / colleges within the hub are as follows:

Highfield School

Horbury Academy

St Thomas à Becket Catholic High School

Wakefield College

High Well School

Minsthorpe Community College

Outwood Academy Hemsworth

The Featherstone Academy

Castleford Academy


There is a recognition that there is a need to improve positive destinations and significantly increase employer engagement opportunities of all young people with SEND across the region.  

 Nationally and in the Leeds City Region statistics show that young people with SEND are less likely to enter employment as a destination after school. Around 6% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment, despite more than 60% being willing and able to work. Powell, A. (2020). People with disabilities in employment

 Each hub member sits within a working group with a specific focus, to improve positive destinations and increase employer engagement. The 2 working groups are currently developing projects which aim to benefit all schools / colleges within the region.

 The improving positive destination working group are developing a SEND Alumni project in partnership with the University of Derby, and the increasing employer engagement working group are developing a project in partnership with Lighthouse Futures Trust.  Both projects will consist of high quality training and bespoke resources for school leaders, teachers and employers. All resources will be released on our FutureGoals website, with the first set due to be released early December 2020.


More links





The SEND Code of Practice 2015, chapter 8.49 says “Local authorities should be ambitious for children and young people with SEN, raising aspirations and promoting high expectations about what they can achieve in school, college and beyond”. Local authorities should ensure and young people have access to the right support and opportunities that will prepare them successfully for adulthood by helping them achieve the agreed outcomes in their EHC Plan. This will enable many more young people with SEN to complete their formal education.

One of the most important things you need to consider, and possibly one of the biggest challenges, is getting a job. If you want to move straight into employment after education you should be looking and applying for jobs at least 3 months before leaving.

Please see the Info Page Employment to learn about finding a job.

Ambitious About Autism now has a Transition to Employmnent Toolkit. You can download this for free. It is for young people, but parents, carers and professionals also might find it useful.

Last updated: 12/4/2022