Post 16 education and training

For some young people turning 16 may mean coming to the end of formal school life (normally the end of year 11) which is an important milestone on the pathway to preparing for adult life.

Raising the participation age means that young people must stay in education or training until their 18th birthday. Most young people decide to stay in school or college, but there are other options available which include:

  • Continue in full-time education – following a study programme at school or college sixth form, at further education college or with a training provider.
  • Work based learningsuch as an apprenticeship, traineeship (pre-apprenticeship) or supported internship
  • Part time education or training - if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more per week.

If you are thinking about what you would like to do in the future, you might want to talk to someone about your options. Your school will have a designated careers or transition lead who can help you with choices and careers advice once you reach 16.

After 16 years old you can say which sixth form school or college you would prefer to go to, and the local authority will consider your choice.

It can be hard deciding what to do once you finish your GCSEs or are thinking about what and where you would like to study once you leave school. This short video gives our hints and tips on what to think about and how to find the best option for you.

Whether you have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) or receive SEN Support, the next steps in your education and training path towards employment should form a part of the discussion during your SEN Support review or Annual Review meeting.

Staying at school – academic study at school sixth forms and colleges

You may be able to stay at your current school for Year 12, or you may want to apply to another sixth form that has different courses and support for students with SEND. 

Both school sixth forms and colleges provide opportunities to study A Levels however sixth form schools often focus on more academic study while colleges can offer a wider range of courses including vocational and work-based learning.

Courses normally take two years to complete full-time, although some are also available to study part-time. They are recognised by all employers and institutions, regardless of whether a young person has studied at school sixth form or a sixth form college. 

These courses will often also support the development of your independence and life skills.

To find out more about the courses that are available visit the school websites for information about what’s offered. Each school or college will also have its own SEND information report that explains more about how they support young people with SEND.

Going to college

There are four further education college campuses based in Bromley; London South East Colleges (LSEC) who have a campus in both Bromley and Orpington and Capel Manor College who have campuses within Crystal Palace Park and in Mottingham. 

All colleges offer a range of academic and vocational courses, some also offer traineeships and apprenticeships.

LSEC Bromley and Orpington Campuses

London South East College (LSEC) Bromley offers learning programmes over a large range of subjects including vocational subjects, GCSEs, higher education and learning for living and work. The college has two campuses at Bromley Common and Orpington. 

The college also has the specialist Nido Volans Centre which offers a range of courses to young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) which will help to prepare you for adulthood by improving independent living skills and developing employability. All programmes develop English and Maths at an appropriate level and there are opportunities for vocational learning. 

Find more information about the courses available at LSEC Bromley campus

Capel Manor College

Capel Manor College has two campuses, one is in Crystal Palace Park, to the north of the borough the other is based in Mottingham. Both colleges offer a range of courses relating to animals and outdoors.

Find more information about the courses available at Capel Manor College

Other colleges

You don’t have to go to your nearest further education college. Depending on what you want to study and the college facilities you may wish to apply elsewhere. It’s really important to remember that you don’t automatically get help with travel costs when you go to college and if you choose to go further away, this may be costly and you could spend a long time travelling every day.

If you would like to look further afield, there are lots of colleges close by to Bromley, which offer a wide range of courses, and some have specialisms in specific areas. These include:

Independent specialist colleges

The vast majority of a young people will have their needs met at a further education college but there are a small number of young people whose needs cannot be met at a further education college and who may need a higher level of support, possibly from a specialist college. 

This group of young people would, in the main, already be in a specialist school and their choices and options would be discussed with them, their family, the school and the professionals who support them during the Annual Review of Education, Health and Care plan meeting and before they are due to leave school as the move may need greater planning.

Further education and Education Health and Care plans (EHCP’s)

Young people with SEND are not automatically entitled to have an EHCP after they turn 19. Many young people with an EHCP will have completed their further education by the age of 19, but we recognise that some young people may need longer to complete and consolidate their education and training. The length of time will vary according to each individual up to the age of 25.

When a 19-to-25-year-old continues with an EHCP, it will be reviewed at least annually. The plan must contain outcomes which should enable the young person to complete their education and training successfully and move on to the next stage of their lives.

Higher education

EHCP’s are not in place for young people in higher education. There are separate systems in place to support disabled young people in higher education, including the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

This is a non-repayable grant that can assist with the additional costs incurred by disabled students. The DSA grant can fund a range of support, including assistance with the cost of:

  • specialist equipment
  • travel
  • non-medical helpers (e.g. sign language interpreters)

Once a your eligibility for DSA is confirmed, Student Finance England may ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help is needed. This is known as a needs assessment.

The EHC plan should be the overarching plan that ensures young people receive the support they need to help them achieve agreed educational outcomes. The statutory adult care and support plan should form the care element of the young person’s EHC plan.

Where young people aged 18 or over continue to have EHC plans and receive support from adult social care, this will be provided under the Care Act 2014.

For more information about higher education universities and colleges and the support available for young people with SEND visit the UCAS website.

For more information about courses available and the providers in and around Bromley visit our further and higher education colleges page.


More information is available in our Post 16 education, training and employment guide (PDF - 919.14 KB).