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Working in the sector

The Children and Families Act 2014 placed new duties on post-16 providers in relation to learners with SEND. At the same time it recognised their key role in improving outcomes for this group of young people who make up almost one in five (17%) of the FE student population.

You can find out more about the SEND Code of practice and the duties and responsibilities further education providers have to their learners with SEND by selecting the two documents below.

An image of the FE guide to the SEND code of practice An image of the SEND Code of practice

Small, powerful everyday things – conversations of humanity in the SEND system

Through storytelling, people with different perspectives can come together and share their common humanity, hopes and goals. The act of telling stories, listening and being listened to in itself, has a positive impact on those learning and working in the SEND system. This publication, Small, powerful everyday things – conversations of humanity in the SEND system, gives us an opportunity to read stories from the perspective of learners, their families and professionals working in the SEND system and to think about how storytelling might inform your work.

An image of the cover of Small, powerful everyday things


So what is the FE sector?

Are you considering a career working with students with SEND but you've not worked in Further Education before? The Further Education (FE) sector is a wide-ranging and remarkably diverse section of the education system. It is made up of many different types of provider as explained in this guide. An accessible Word version of the guide is available for download on the About us page of our website.

An image of the front cover of the So what is the FE sector? guide

Understanding and promoting positive behaviour in the FE sector

How do we make it more likely that we create an environment so that learning is an emotionally positive experience?  How does our own behaviour impact on those around us?  This guide, Understanding and promoting positive behaviour in the FE sector, created with Pivotal Education and Works 4 U provides some ideas to support those working in the FE sector to ensure that learning is an emotionally nurturing experience increasing the likelihood of learner success.

Screenshot of the Understanding and promoting positive behaviour in the FE sector guide

Time to Talk Next Steps

The National Development Team for Inclusion (NTDi) are running a three-year programme, Time to Talk Next Steps, to support young people (16 to 25 year olds) with additional needs to build confidence, provide motivation and make plans for the future. The programme provides free virtual support to young people with additional needs who are experiencing anxiety, feeling isolated and may have no or limited plans for their future. Support is short term either one-to-one or in small groups. Young people can go on to become peer supporters. The programme provides additional information, support and advice to parents and carers of young people, and they run workshops for families on transition and preparing for adulthood throughout the year. More information and contact details can be found on the NTDi Time to Talk Next Steps website page.

Accessibility and the law: Getting it right

Legislation for accessibility changed in a very positive way with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations (2018). This short EdTech Accessibility and the law: Getting it right module looks at how to stay on the right side of these regulations it shows you the issues and implications of current legislation around accessibility.

Changing roles

Photograph of Thoria KingDo you feel it's time to try challenge yourself and try something different? That's exactly what Thoria King did. After 19.5 years of working in prison education, Thoria became the SEND Manager at London Borough of Hillingdon. You can read her guest blog, Reflections of a 'newish' SEND manager to learn how Thoria found her first eight weeks in the new role and her advice to others who are considering a move into SEND management.

If you're considering a career in the Further Education (FE) sector and want to find out more about the different types of providers in post-16 education, take a look out our guide, So what is the FE sector

If you like Thoria, fancy a new challenge in your career then the ETF run a programme of continual professional development courses specifically for those new to SEND management. You can find out more on our Leadership and management page.

SEND reforms in practice

The SEND reforms impact every practitioner, learn more about the code of practice and how to adapt your delivery to ensure you better meet the needs of learners with SEND with Nasen’s Focus On SEND training materials.

Providing effective SEND support

Effective SEN support An image of the effective SEN Support research documentis a research report on effective approaches and examples of current practice in good and outstanding schools and colleges. This resource is to help leaders, teachers and support staff in mainstream primary schools, secondary schools and colleges reflect on practice to support pupils and students with special educational needs. Amongst the schools and colleges they studied there was a wide range of strategies and approaches being used to support students on SEN support. The research identified seven key features to providing effective SEN support. The 7 key features are: Culture, leadership and management, High quality teaching, Use of expertise, Personalisation, Flexible use of evidence-based strategies, Progress tracking, and Communication and collaboration.

Discover Career opportunities

Are you interested in startarting a career in the further education and training (FE) sector working with learners with  special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or are you already working with people with SEND and want to progress your career? Our new guide, Make a big difference: working with learners with special educational needs and disabilities provides information about the qualifications you need and the different career pathways.

Visit the FE Advice website for information about becoming a teacher and incentives for training.

Be inspired

Watch the video, to hear from Young people with SEND speak out about the impact on their lives of high quality post-16 provision.

An image of Brendan's letter  Read Brendan's story to find out what learning means to him.


Professional development

Are you looking for specific training? As part of a mapping exercise of SEND CPD training and qualifications available from the Education and Training Foundation and a wide range of other organisations we have produced a SEND CPD Framework. The information is provided to raise awareness to the SEND workforce of the variety CPD opportunities available. The inclusion of information from other organisations does not indicate a recommendation by the Education and Training Foundation of this offer.

Do take a look at the Foundation's wide range of courses, many of them relevant to those supporting learners with SEND, together with our bespoke SEND offer, take a look at our new SEND brochure for more information.

Visit the News and Events page for the latest course and event updates. Are you a SET member? If so you'll have access to professional development webinars that cover a whole range of topics to help you support learners with SEND.

Learn about SET membership

Visit the Society for Education and Training (SET) website to find out how our professional membership body can support you in your role within training and education.

Explore our resources

We have a wide variety of resources that can help you to develop your practice. You'll find resources relevant to the web page you're exploring at the bottom of that page.

An image of  one of the task cards from the Mindful toolkit

Join the SEND conversation

Join our online community of practice on Twitter using the hashtag #SENDinFE. It's a great way to learn from and support each other.

Safe working practices: a guide for learning support staff

Safe working practices: a guide for learning support workers created by City College Norwich, Centre for Excellence in SEND (community),  provices strategies that can be employed for different performance criteria within the National Occupational Standards for learning support staff, and an activity to assess their working practices.

Related Resources

An image of the cover of Small, powerful everyday things

Small, powerful everyday things – conversations of humanity in the SEND system

Screenshot for the understanding and promoting positive behaviour in the FE sector guide

An image of the first page of the support strategies resource for learning support assistants

Support staff safe Covd-19 working practices

Make a big difference working with learners with SEND

An image of the Effective SEN support research document

Effective SEN Support

Image of the SEND CPD Framework resource

SEND CPD Framework

Further education: guide to the 0 to 25 SEND code of practice

An image of the EdTech Accessibility and getting the law right CPD module

Accessibility and getting the law right

An image of the cover of So what is the FE sector?

So what is the FE sector? - A guide to the FE system in England

An image of the SEND Code of practice

SEND Code of practice

Image of the Focus on SEND training online course materials

Focus on SEND training

An image of the Ofsted handbook

Ofsted Further Education and Skills Inspection handbook