SEND education

ⓘ SEND stands for “Special Educational Needs and Disabilities”

Male student at a desktop computer

SEND education: the current landscape

Disabled young people are significantly less likely to be in employment. The statistics are clear:


  • only 50% of disabled adults are in paid work, compared to nearly 80% of non-disabled adults;
  • only 32% of autistic adults are in paid work, falling to 16% for full-time work;
  • only 5.7% of supported adults with a learning disability in England are in paid work, a figure which has been falling for the last 3 years.


Sadly, these statistics show that current approaches to 16-19 education are failing to prepare many disabled young people for work and independent living.

What needs to change

We believe that post-16 education for disabled young people needs to change urgently in order to close the “disability employment gap” and to enable them to thrive in later life.


Our vision is of a new type of school for disabled students, which provides them with essential skills, attitudes, and opportunities to increase their personal aspirations and life chances. This school would be focused on preparing students for work and for living as independently as possible. With this preparation they could lead more fulfilled, healthy and stimulating lives – ones they choose for themselves – until they retire, and beyond.


This model has been prepared by my AFK as the basis for discussions with local authorities and other stakeholders in the education of disabled students.

More Information

More details about our proposal can be found in our document Creating a new model of 16-19 education for students with SEND.


Please direct any enquiries about AFK College to Graham Duncan by email at or phone 0776 458 6173.

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