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Whoever you are and whatever you're interested in for a future career there will be a course in a college that is right for you. The right course may not be obvious at first and you may need help finding it.
There are different types of full time or part time of courses students can choose from including:
- study programmes
- basic skills
- work-related courses
- AS/A levels
Information on this page will help get you started.
You can also read the My Choices guide which gives information about local opportunities in Further Education for students with SEND. It is available in the downloads section of this page along with a social story about starting college and some information about The Black Country Consortium Careers Hub and Skills Factory who produced the resources.
You should start thinking about which course and college is right for you well before you leave school. If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) a transition plan should have been produced at the year 9 review meeting. This transition plan is your chance to talk about what you would like to do when you leave school and what sort of education or training you would like to have to enable you to do it. You may also want to talk about things like where you want to live. The plan must will be reviewed every year until you leave school which will give you a chance to talk about any changes in what you want to do. Parents will be involved in the discussions as well as staff from school and the Connexions Sandwell Personal Adviser (PA) who is there to advise you on which course is best for you . Anyone else who could help you (such as therapists and specialist education support services) can be there to make sure that the you get the support you need when you leave school.
You can see what is expected in transition by looking at the Transition Roadmap document in the downloads section.
If you have special educational needs or a disability but don't have an EHCP you still need to talk to school staff, your chosen college and your Connexions Sandwell PA to make sure that the course and college you have chosen will allow you to do what you want to do.
When you have made your choice make sure you visit the college before you start. Talk to staff and look at the facilities to make sure that everything is right for you.
Once you're at college it must make sure that it does all it can to give you the support you need. If you have an EHCP before you get to college it should set out what you need to access your course and to make all the progress you can. It will be reviewed every year to make sure that what's in it is up to date. The EHCP can run to age 25 if you are in any form of education or training. Even if you do not have an EHCP the college must still make sure that you get the help you need to get the most out of the course you have chosen. Most of the time the support you get will come from the college's learner support department. You should talk to them first if you are having any difficulties. You may also be able to talk to your Connexions Sandwell PA.
To find out what courses are available in colleges close to Sandwell and what support may be available for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) please click on the link for the appropriate college
In the vast majority of cases you will be able to find a suitable course at a college near to where to you live. Very occasionally, if you have very complex needs, you may need to look at a specialist college which could be further away. You must have an EHCP to go to one of these colleges and you can see a list (known as the section 41 list) by clicking here. For more detailed information about Specialist Colleges you can also visit the NATSPEC website.
Before you go to college you should be assessed for a course of independent travel training. Being able to travel independently is a very important life skill and will be helpful throughout your life. The Local Authority does not provide travel assistance for students attending FE Colleges including specialist providers. Please see our Travel Assistance page for more details including the Post-16 Transport Policy which has information about other transport options.