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Learning Difficulties Conference Logo


Most young people’s special educational needs are identified before they are 16 - the age they reach the end of compulsory education. Those with continuing needs are likely to require support from their school, new education provider or their new employer.

Exploring post-16 Learning, Progression and Employment Issues for Young People with Learning Difficulties

This one-day conference will look at areas of Government interest and involvement from the Department for Education (DfE), Education Funding Agency (EFA) and LSIS covering the policy framework, funding, the 2011 Green Paper and the new relevant qualifications for teachers and learning support staff.

Other sessions will identify and explore the issues around and support available for a range of conditions including: Autism, Dyslexia, Disability and ‘multiple areas’.

Four ‘breakout’ workshops – run twice in the day – offer perspectives and opportunities from different areas of education and support services, where topics will be covered in more detail.

In the 2009/10 academic year, over 30,000 young people aged 16–25 received extra support for higher-level special educational needs, at a cost of around £506 million.  A further 87,700 with lower-level needs in further education received around £135 million of special educational support. An additional 28,800 students with lower-level needs were supported in mainstream schools, where the cost of support is not separately reported.

The Department for Education (DfE) sets the policy framework for special education in England, including for young people aged 16–18 (and 19–25 for those with Learning Difficulty Assessments) with the intention that ‘every child with special educational needs reaches their full potential in school and can make a successful transition to adulthood and the world of further and higher education, training or work’.

The Government’s 2011 SEN and Disability Green Paper set out objectives of ‘employment, good health and independence’. (Reported by the NAO in 'Oversight of special education for young people aged 16-25' summary)

“Too few young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities progress from school to complete programmes of learning in post-16 settings which develop greater independence; lead to further study; supported or open employment; or provide skills for independent living” (Ofsted: Progression post-16 for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities August 2011)


The conference will be chaired by Anne Hayward - a National and International expert with over thirty years experience in the fields of SEN and Disability, Inclusion and adults/young adults with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD).

It will provide delegates with views on policy, signposts to current/future progress and good practice, increased awareness of the breadth of special needs that young people may experience, including case-studies and the opportunity to attend workshop sessions.

Who Should Attend:

  • Practitioners and Managers supporting young people with learning difficulties who access, or want to access, further education or employment services. Strategic and Operational managers of provision for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in the wider post-16 and FE sector.
  • Learning support practitioners who focus on learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • Staff from the following institutions, agencies and professions who focus on learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities:

Work Based Learning Providers; Training Providers; Awarding Organisations; Specialist Schools; Local Authorities; Academy Sixth Forms; Mainstream Sixth Forms; Independent Specialist Providers; Further Education, Specialist and Residential Colleges; Careers advisory staff and social workers; Employers looking to create productive working environments; Job Centre staff and providers of employability programmes; other education and training professionals.

Attendance at this conference will provide an excellent opportunity to network with experts in the field and other professionals.