Students living in England
If you are under the age of 25 and have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or a Learning Difficulty Assessment your local authority has a duty to secure suitable education to meet your needs. In most cases they will expect this to happen in your home area, unless you can show that your local sixth form or further education college cannot meet your needs.
The key to securing funding is to make sure that your advisers and your local authority fully understand what your needs are, and why they cannot be met locally. You do need to explore local options in order to do this. You also need to keep talking to your local authority. If they are not aware of your concerns and the issues you face, they will not be able to support you in moving forwards.
If RNC is right for you, there will be good reasons for this. You may not be able to study your chosen course in your home area. You may have fallen behind or had a very difficult experience at school. Your eye condition may have developed recently or have deteriorated so you need extra support to regain your confidence and rebuild your skills. You may feel socially isolated or excluded, particularly if you are the only person you know who has a visual impairment, and lack confidence as a result. You may need specialist help to achieve your ambitions of employment, higher education or independent living.
Some local authorities believe that specialist colleges such as RNC are an expensive option. Again, it is important to make sure that they understand your needs and the long term benefits of making sure you get the right education at this stage.
At RNC you will learn to study independently, without the need for a Learning Support Assistant. You will develop stronger mobility skills and be better able to travel independently. You will have improved IT skills and a better understanding of how to use assistive technology to your advantage. All of these skills represent a saving to the local authority, as well as a huge step towards your future.
If RNC is the right place for you we can help to demonstrate that this is the case. Funding is available once you have shown the need for a placement here. With some local authorities this will be a very straightforward process, while with others it may be more of a battle. We will support you and work with you to make sure that you can access the education you deserve.
The situation should improve under new legislation introduced in 2014, which will replace Statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). We are actively lobbying to ensure that this is the case, and that young people do not have to fight for their education.