Step Three: Getting the Right Support in Place

Mainstream colleges have a responsibility to provide the right support for you so you can get the most out of your education. However, this support may not always be immediately available. It might also 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.

QTVI support

You may already be familiar with the role of a Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVI). If you are still unsure, they essentially support with the development and education of blind and partially sighted learners.

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 what support they will put in place for you.
  • Support you into your chosen college.

Teaching assistants (TAs)

Teaching Assistants 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 your learning material such as lecture notes, handouts and reading material are adapted to be accessible for you.
  • Work closely with fellow support workers to ensure teaching is accessible.
  • Ensure you can access your course as independently as possible.
  • General day-to-day assistance across the college where possible.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs)

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.

Top 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.

RNIB has a helpful page on their website about the support you can receive at college, check it out here.

Check out the other steps...

Step One: Your Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)

Find out all the information you need for completing a Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) to support your studies at mainstream college.

Find out more about 'Step One: Your Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)'

Step Two: Applying for Mainstream Colleges

Discover how you can put the right preparations in place to begin your mainstream college search and find the best place to study.

Find out more about 'Step Two: Applying for Mainstream Colleges'

Step Four: Funding Available

Learn what funding options may be available to you when studying at mainstream college.

Find out more about 'Step Four: Funding Available'

Step Five: Technology for Your Studies

Learn more about the different types of assistive technology which may be available to provide support with your education.

Find out more about 'Step Five: Technology for Your Studies'
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