Step three: getting the right support in place

As mentioned in step two, mainstream colleges have a responsibility to provide the right support for you so that you can get the most out of your education. However, this support may not always be immediately available and may require some additional research and inquiries to your preferred college to get the answers you need.

Read on below for more information on getting the right support in place and what that looks like.

Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVIs) – You may already be familiar with the role of a QTVI. If you are still unsure, they essentially support with the development and education of vision impaired learners.

For a full breakdown of what QTVIs do, check out RNIB’s helpful video and factsheet here.

If you already have a QTVI, you may be assigned a new person to support you as you transition into college.

Your QTVI will:

  • complete a report on how best to support your education within mainstream college. The college will then decide from this on how they will help you.
  • support you into your chosen college

Other support

Teaching assistants (TAs) – may be employed by mainstream colleges as an extra level of support for your learning. They will usually support in the following ways:

  • Help to ensure adapted materials are provided.
  • Work closely in unison with fellow support workers to ensure accessibility.
  • Ensure access to the curriculum is as independently available as possible.
  • General day-to-day assistance across the college where possible.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) – are responsible for assessing, planning, and monitoring the progress of children/young people with special needs. SENCOs consult, liaise and work with fellow support worker staff, parents/carers, external agencies and appropriate professionals and voluntary bodies.

SENCOs are less likely to be involved within the mainstream college set up but may still form part of your support network within further education.

Helpful tips

Do your research. As mentioned in Step one, research the mainstream college to find out what support network is in place and if other students have faced the same situation.

Highlight the support you need. Make the mainstream college aware of your condition early on so that they can try to get the right help in place. Your college may have a learning support or additional needs team. Ask to speak with someone from that team so that you can talk through your needs and how the college can best support you.

Remember your Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).You will have some assistance in the type of support which may be arranged for you in mainstream college through your EHCP.

Be prepared for reduced support. You may find that you receive less support than you did at secondary school. If this becomes a problem be sure to raise the issue with the college straight away.

Go to next step: ‘Step four: funding available’

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