Advice on Further Education
You’ve received the text, opened the envelope or gone online to find out you’re A Level results. What now?
If you have a learning disability which falls under Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan you may want to contact the Education Funding Agency (EFA) who can help with funding your further education plan. This is available to students between 16 and 19 years or up to the age of 25.
Help can also come from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) who fund further education for students over the age of 19. The agency also supports people over the age of 25 without an EHC plan or LDA as long as they declare they have a disability.
Students with an EHC plan may be eligible for free education up to the age of 25 depending which course you choose to take.
We all know the two most important subjects we need to pass are Maths and English. If you didn’t quite achieve C grades in these topics – Stop panicking as funding is available to help you reach the level you need for further education.
Injured servicemen and servicewomen leaving the British Armed Forces studying a Level 3 qualification or have completed four years active service are also eligible for free funding.
For disabled students who do not fall into any of these categories they may be able to receive funding with course fees up to Level 2 at the discretion of the training provider or the college.
Of course, there’s always the option to take out a student loan, although for some students this may not be the most suitable route to take. For more information on student loans speak to the Money Advice Service.
Trainneeships – which provide tuition for Maths and English and work preparation training – are usually available for students between the years of 16 and 24. However, when it comes to disabled students the scheme is open to those up to the age of 25. For more information give the Apprenticeship Helpline a buzz on 08000 150 600.
Colleges receive financial support from the EFA and/or SFA so they can make reasonable adjustments for students with a disability. This is called ‘Learning Support’ and covers areas such as specialist computer software, interpreters for students with hearing loss, additional teaching for students with learning difficulties and materials in alternative formats.
Local councils must provide transport for disabled students between the ages of 16 and 19 so they can travel to and from college as well as assisting and encouraging students up to the age of 25. Transport information should be covered in your EHC.
You will find free bus schemes for disabled people across the UK. If you need any further support contact your local Social Services or Social Work Department.
Students who receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as well as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are entitled to a bursary of £1,200 providing they are aged between 16 and 19 years. For more information call the Learner Support helpline on 0800 121 8989.
An additional bursary fund is available for students over the age of 24 to support people with learning difficulties or a disability.
If you want a specific college covered in an EHC plan it must be accessible for yourself and an “efficient use of resources”. Your college will then be considered for the plan.
On the whole welfare benefits aren’t available to full-time students. Although if you are currently receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Income-rated Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) you may still be able to keep receiving them throughout your further education years.
When you begin further education it’s a good idea to notify the Benefits Agency or Jobcentre Plus.