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Further education at 16+

Photo: Guidance on FE routes for deaf young people

Many deaf young people will leave school at 16 and move onto a further education or a 6th form college.

Colleges can be a very different environment to schools and your child’s support needs might change as a result. Your child may need additional support from you when it comes to choosing a college and preparing for this change in environment.

Can my child go to any college?

By law, colleges are not allowed to unfairly discriminate against deaf young people. This means they cannot refuse a place to your child just because they are deaf and they are required to make reasonable adjustments so that your child can access their education.

In England, if your child requires specialist support such as a communication support worker or notetakerthen a college might expect them to have an Education, Health and Care plan to make sure there is funding for their support.
Some colleges have in-house teams with specialist staff such as Communication Support Workers to support deaf students. Your child might prefer to go to a college that has a lot of experience of working with deaf students as the institution is likely to have good deaf-awareness and may even be able to offer a deaf peer group.

Will my child’s support automatically move with them from school into college?
Not necessarily. In England, some local authority sensory support services work in colleges but many do not. This might mean your child no longer has support from a Teacher of the Deaf. If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, they may be able to keep their support from a Teacher of the Deaf if it is agreed in the plan.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland support for deaf college students is not funded by local authorities. This means your child will need to discuss their support arrangements with their college before they start. The college will be responsible for funding your child’s support.

What are the best courses for my child to take at college?

This is a decision your child has to make. The choice of courses available to them depends on the grades they got in their school exams. Your child might benefit from talking to a careers advisor to help them decide what to do. Remember most jobs are open to deaf people with the right support in place. See our role models page for more info.

Paul's story: Going to college

Paul didn't like school very much, so wasn't sure college was for him. But did he have a hard time at college? No! Paul tells us how you can get lots of support to make college fun!