Advice for students - preparing for further or higher education  

There’s lots to consider if you’re a young person approaching the end of compulsory education. We’ve compiled a useful guide to help you know what choices might lie ahead and what action you may wish to take. 

Young adults aged 19-25


Young people with SEND are not automatically entitled to continue their EHC plans after they turn 19. It is expected that most young people with EHC plans will have completed their further education by the age of 19, but the Government has recognised that some need longer to complete and consolidate their education and training. 

The length of time a plan will continue will vary according to each individual up to the age of 25. If you are aged 19-25 and continue with an EHC plan, the local authority must review it at least annually. The EHC plan must contain outcomes, which should enable you to complete your education and training successfully and move on to the next stage of your life. 

One of the reasons for not maintaining an EHC plan is that the special education or training provision specified in the plan is no longer required. When making this decision, the local authority must take into account whether the education or training outcomes specified in the EHC plan have been achieved. 

Local authorities must not cease to maintain the EHC plan simply because you are aged 19 or over. When you are close to finishing your education and training, the local authority should use the final annual review to agree the support needed to help you to engage with adult services. 

Local authorities do not fund travel assistance for 19-to-25-year-olds. If you are aged 19-25 and have an EHC plan, arrangements will be made for your college or education provider to support your travel through a bursary programme, where appropriate. If you require more information, please contact the education provider you are planning to attend. 

Special School

Once you reach 19, you won’t be able to remain in a special school unless you are completing a secondary education course which started before you were 18 years old. You will need to move to college to continue your education or training. 

Further and Higher Education

If you are studying for a Level 4 in a Further Education college or at university you are not entitled to an EHC plan. However, there are separate systems in place to support you, including Disabled Students’ Allowances. 

Disabled Students’ Allowances

These are grants that assist with the additional costs incurred by students with disabilities. 

A DSA is available to both full and part time students, doesn’t need repaying, and the amount you get will depend on your individual needs. 

DSAs fund a range of support, including assistance with travel costs, specialist equipment or non-medical helpers. 

Further Advice for Students

AskJules was founded by a parent when their own child started university and they have a wealth of experience and advice to offer students embarking on the same path. AskJules provides advice if you need daily living and personal care support at university. AskJules also matches disabled students with potential personal assistants (PA’s) at university  

Disability Rights UK has a range of fact sheets and guides for students with disabilities, on topics such as: 

  • Higher Education and Apprenticeships 
  • Funding
  • Adjustments
  • Applying for allowances
  • Charitable trusts
  • FAQs
  • What counts as a disability
  • Clear guide to telling people you’re disabled
  • Understanding the Equality Act for disabled students 

They also have a detailed guide to adjustments and a free helpline for students - 0330 995 0414  

Equality and Advisory Support Service (EASS) has a helpline which advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales. As well as the helpline, you can also contact them by text or email.

EASS also have helpful template letters for anyone who needs to complain about a settings failure to make reasonable adjustments for a student with a disability. 

Need more help?

If you need to speak with one of Shine’s specialist advisers about spina bifida or hydrocephalus, call us on 01733 555988 or click here to email us.

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