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We're here to support you

We're committed to ensuring that all students can access, participate and succeed in their learning.

We provide an inclusive learning environment with high quality teaching that ensures that the learning needs of all individuals, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, are met, enabling students to maximise their potential and achieve their next steps. We are committed to the early identification and assessment of a student’s needs so that we can provide reasonable adjustments and arrange any special educational provision. Students are supported to recognise their personal barriers to learning and are supported to develop skills and strategies that will encourage them to become as independent as possible. We are highly ambitious for all students with SEND, focusing on supporting all students to set high aspirations and reach positive destinations. These include higher education, training or employment.

All staff adopt a person-centred approach to supporting students, tailoring this support to the individual needs and aspirations of the student. The College works in partnership with students and their parents/carers, placing the student’s views, wishes and feelings at the heart of everything we do. We aim to provide appropriate levels of support to ensure the best possible outcomes for students, focusing on effectively preparing them for their next steps, adulthood and independence. We are committed to working collaboratively with external agencies such as Local Authorities, schools and health professionals, encouraging and facilitating strong and clear communication to provide the best experience for our students.

Many students find that there are times when they need support at College. The support required varies from individual to individual and the majority of learning support needs can be met through adaptive teaching or adjustments to delivery methods. Some students will require additional learning support from the Learning Support Team. We offer support for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (SEND), including access to specialist staffing, equipment and resources or the facilitation of reasonable adjustments.

If you have a learning difficulty and/or disability, or an ESOL need (English for speakers of other languages) and would like support, you can either let us know on your application form, self-refer at enrolment or contact us when you are on your course. Please also let us know if you require exam access arrangements so that we can look into putting these in place.

Meet the Learning Support Team

The Learning Support Team is a large, diverse and highly skilled team based on the first floor of the college. We provide support both within and outside of the classroom and our role is to ensure that students are able to access their education as fully as possible.

Learning Support Manager

The Learning Support Manager leads the Learning Support team at the College, ensuring that all students have access to high quality additional learning support which enables them to achieve their goals and be successful on their chosen course.

Learning Support Mentors

Our seven Learning Support Mentors provide specialist pastoral support outside of lessons. Each mentor has a different specialism, and these include:

  • Autism
  • Mental health
  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)
  • Physical disabilities and medical conditions

LS Mentors provide additional learning support to students and will work with them to meet their specific, person-centred objectives and outcomes which will focus on preparation for adulthood. This may be additional to the outcomes identified in an EHCP. Mentors can work on a 1:1 basis or in small groups. They are available to provide advice and guidance to tutors and other staff and will work collaboratively to develop strategies and approaches that facilitate engagement and success within the classroom.

Dyslexia Coordinators

Our two Dyslexia Coordinators have teaching qualifications and specialist Dyslexia qualifications. They offer standardised assessments for exam arrangements, give advice to tutors on how best to support students and provide 1:1 drop-in support sessions to help build study skills, literacy and numeracy skills and. They can also support with course related reading, writing and research tasks.

Learning Support Practitioners (LSPs)

The role of an LSP is to provide the in-class element of provision detailed within a student’s EHCP and they can be assigned to all or part of a student’s study programme. This may be physical or emotional support or assistance, or they may facilitate learning by note taking or explaining instructions.

Assessment Coordinator

Our Assessment Coordinator works to ensure that you receive the learning support that you need at college, from tutor awareness to individual support, as well as equipment loans and exam access arrangements. Our Assessment Coordinator may attend your transitional annual review meeting to discuss your support needs and help with your move to York College.

Learning Support Specialist (BSL and Communication)

Our Learning Support Specialist provides specialist support for D/deaf students or students with a hearing loss. This support may include British Sign Language interpretation in class and specialist additional tutorial support.

ESOL Tutors

Our experienced ESOL tutors offer workshops for students who speak English as an additional language, providing opportunities and activities which encourage students to practice their English skills. They work alongside course tutors to support students with the necessary comprehension, vocabulary and written skills needed to complete their coursework.

York College offers a programme called Pathways to Work and Independent Living

This programme enables students to study at Entry 2, Entry 3 or Level 1. You do not need qualifications for these courses and they can be personalised to suit the particular needs of the student. Students study English and Maths, Personal and Social Development and where appropriate, undertake work-related learning or work experience and study units which will help them work towards work-related qualifications.

Find out more about our Pathways course.

Other entry-level programmes are available in some vocational areas...

for those young people with a clear idea of what they would like to do.

Visit the Local Offer to find out what is available in York for children and young people with special educational needs/disability.

Please see video opposite for the inspiring story of Ellie and her experience of the support offered at York College.

Support for students with Education, Health and Care Plans

Students that require a significant level of support to meet their special educational needs may have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). An EHCP is a legal document, produced and maintained by the Local Authority and it identifies the educational, health and social care needs of a young person as well as the specific, additional provision that they require. An EHCP can be in place for young people up to the age of 25. EHCPs focus on the outcomes and long-term aspirations of students, and they are reviewed regularly to assess their progress and development.

The progress of all students with an EHCP will be reviewed regularly throughout the year. Their EHCP will be reviewed annually in accordance with the SEND Code of Practice. Where students consent, parents/carers will be kept informed at all stages, and all relevant professionals will be invited to the annual review. Preparation for Adulthood will be central to the EHCP outcomes agreed for all students.

For students with an EHCP, Learning Support staff will produce a Student Profile. This will outline the long term aims and aspirations of the student, their support needs, support strategies and their EHCP outcomes. The Student Profile will be reviewed on a regular basis and support will be adapted and adjusted in response to their progress and development. All staff working with these students will contribute to this review.

What kind of support could I have?

At all times, York College uses its best endeavours to provide the support required by students to enable them to access their programme of study and achieve their full potential. We endeavour to meet these needs through careful planning and high-quality teaching and learning, supplementing this with additional support where necessary. Support offered will depend on your needs and will be discussed and agreed with you. This support will be tailored to enable you to access and be successful in your learning, building your independence and preparing you for your next steps.

A member of the Learning Support team will produce a Learning Support Report (LSR) which will be shared with College staff working with you. This LSR will detail your support needs and the strategies which will be beneficial to your learning. You may be allocated a Learning Support Mentor or Specialist who will provide specialist additional support.

All staff adopt a flexible, creative, person-centred approach and this is reflected in the support that we provide. Support will take a variety of forms but may include:

  • In-class support from a Learning Support Practitioner (LSP)
  • Support from specialist staff such as a Learning Support Specialist or Learning Support Mentor
  • Communication support including British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation
  • Individual study skills support
  • Mobility support (including producing a Personal Emergency Egress Plan – PEEP)
  • Specialist resources, equipment and assistive technology (e.g. laptops, Dictaphones, reading pens, deaf alerters)
  • Note taking
  • Modification of learning materials (e.g. into braille or enlarged font)
  • Personal care
  • Health Care Plans detailing medical needs and steps to take in an emergency
  • Assessments for exam access arrangements
  • Support to access transport
  • Access to alternative, low-sensory areas of the College

Exam Access Arrangements

Some students may be eligible for reasonable adjustments to be made for assessments and exams. To determine this, Learning Support staff will carry out relevant assessments and, providing that there is sufficient evidence to support this, will make an application to the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for these to be approved.

When applying for exam arrangements, strict JCQ Guidelines have to be adhered to. Two criteria must be satisfied for a request to be made:

  • Evidence that a student meets the threshold to qualify for exam access arrangements which are usually identified through a Specialist Teacher Assessment (STA)
  • Evidence that these exam access arrangements represent a student’s normal way of working

Please note that:

  • Requests for exam access arrangements must be requested before the JCQ Deadline (usually February). Requests received after this deadline may not be granted
  • Without evidence of continued need or normal way of working, exam arrangements cannot be applied for
  • External reports cannot used to request exam access arrangements
  • Exam access arrangements cannot be transferred from a previous education provider, therefore any exam access arrangements that were in place in another school or college will not automatically roll over to York College

If you have previously had exam access arrangements or support for exams/assessments or think that you may need them, please inform your tutor, Progress Coach or the Learning Support Team as soon as possible.

What support can I access before I join York College?

We offer a wide range of support to students prior to enrolment, and we encourage young people and their parents/carers to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss any potential support needs. We can tell you about the support we are able to offer linked to the course you are interested in.

  • Attend one of our Open Events and speak to a member of the Learning Support Team
  • Contact the Learning Support Team on
  • Arrange a visit to the College to familiarise yourself with the building and have the chance to meet some of the members of the team
  • Contact us in advance if you need any arrangements or support at your interview or guidance discussion meeting, such as mobility or communication support
  • Ask your school/provider to pass on any relevant information about your support needs
  • Provide us with details of your transitional annual review if you’d like a member of the team to attend
  • Fill in the Learning Support section of the College application form when you apply for a course, this lets us know that you may need further advice or support

Students applying for Higher Education (HE) courses

Students with SEND applying to study on a Higher Education (HE) course (e.g. Higher National Diploma or a Degree) should declare this on their UCAS application form. Students may be eligible for support through the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and should apply for this by contacting the DSA Team at Student Finance England as early as possible.

Further information can be found here.

SEND Code of Practice

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice provides statutory guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and disabilities. York College, as a provider of Further Education, has specific duties outlined within this. While the Code of Practice does not apply to students on Higher Education (HE) courses, details about how York College can support can be found by clicking here.