The special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people is currently being reformed in England. These reforms place a far greater emphasis on supporting young people with SEND to progress successfully to adulthood, including support to find employment. Supported internships have specifically been developed for young people, including young people with autism, with education, health and care (EHC) plans, SEN statements or Learning Difficulty Assessments who want to work but need additional support to make the transition from education to employment.
The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all local authorities to publish a local offer setting out all the support available locally for young people with SEND, including support for transition into employment, supported internships, apprenticeships and traineeships. The Act also brings the post-16 sector into the strategic planning arrangements for SEND provision in the local area. The reforms enable support to be provided for young people with EHC plans up to 25 years of age in further education or training where it is needed.
From April 2013 to March 2015 the Department for Education is funding Ambitious about Autism to work with the Association of Colleges, Nasen and four college hubs and associated schools on a “Finished at School” project looking at innovative ways of helping young people with autism make the transition from school to college. Learning from the project will be made available nationally.
The Department also funds the Autism Education Trust to provide tiered training for education staff. Over the last two years the Trust, with its partners, has been developing and arranging training for staff in early years and further education settings as well as staff in schools.