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Options and Services


Transition for young people with a Learning Disability

There are many options and services available to a young person with a learning disability:


The Transition meetings and the Transition plan will look at what educational options are available to the young person after the age of 16 should they wish to remain in education. Most young people undertake further study and these options can be discussed.

This may include looking at a number of different options including:

  • Arranging time to visit local colleges and arranging 'taster' sessions;
  • Going to Sixth Form College;
  • Going to a college of further education;
  • In some cases, going to an independent school or college (possibly residential)

Most colleges will offer additional support for students with a learning disability and/or other disabilities or additional needs. The Local Education Authority may continue to provide transport to and from college.

Further Education

There are several further education options available for young people leaving school. Most colleges offer a large range of courses, both full-time and part-time. These include general education courses such as A levels and GCSEs or more work related options such as motor vehicle maintenance, catering and hairdressing.

Colleges will be able be offer extra support for people with a learning disability and will be able to offer advice around the different types of courses available and support arrangements.

Most students will be able to attend their local college to take a course that they have chosen, with extra support if required. However, some students may need provision that their local college cannot offer and it may be necessary for them to attend an independent specialist college out of the area. They may also offer a residential placement.

The majority of these specialist colleges belong to NATSPEC - Link to External Website (the National Association of Specialist Colleges... an organisation of special needs colleges); this organisation produces a directory - Link to External Website, which lists and gives information about these colleges.

The application process for a place at a specialist college is a complicated, and sometimes, a lengthy process. After discussions at the Transition meetings, contact would be made with the Learning Skills Council - who are responsible for deciding if the young person is eligible to attend a specialist college. Visits will be arranged to appropriate colleges to see if they meet the requirements for the young person concerned.

Jenna is a student in her first year of the Personal Development Programme at Dovestones College. She is taking a range of subjects such as bakery, sports, numeracy and IT and she is also undertaking a work placement in the College Library. She really enjoys College and hopes to work in a supermarket when she finishes her course.


There are a number of agencies that will help young people with a learning disability to get into employment or training. They offer a complete service, which may include help with application forms for a job, support with interviews and support for the young people once they have started work.

Disability Employment Advisor

Disability Employment Advisors (DEA) are based at Job Centres. They help disabled people into training or a job (and help them keep a job); arrange employment assessment and rehabilitation, and can access relevant employment programmes. They also work with employers to promote the recruitment, training and retention of disabled people.

The DEA can also advise on other schemes available through the employment services. Contact your local Jobcentre Link to External Website for more information.

Routes to Work

Routes to Work is a specialist employment service provided by Social Care and Health in Tameside. Routes to Work supports people with disabilities into paid work and can offer more intensive support and training that the Disability Employment Service cannot provide.

"It's all right. I get the bus in the morning and get off when I get to work. Then I go in and ask "What do you want me to do?" My money goes in the bank and I'm saving it up"
Sean - Morrisons

Day Services

View information about day services. Some of these services may be available in the evenings or over the weekend.

Day services offer the chance to meet new people and make friends. All sorts of activities are available, including working with computers, numeracy and literacy, doing gardening, playing sports, shopping, learning to cook, community visits to places of interest. Many more activities are available and new activities are being developed all the time.


Good health is important to everyone, and during the Transition process health needs will be addressed and arrangements put into place to continue to meet these needs once the young person moves into the Adult Learning Disability service.

Wherever possible, people with a learning disability are encouraged to use the same health services that everybody uses and the first point of contact would usually be the person's own G.P.

However, on occasions people with a learning disability may require more specialist services, for example mobility services or advice about aids and adaptations and these services are available through Adult Social Care and Health. The Learning Disability Service offers specialist Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology and Nursing services.

Again this will be discussed at the Transition reviews, and referrals made to the appropriate services.

Housing in Tameside

As young people move through the Transition process and into adulthood it is normal to begin to think about leaving home.

Options around housing can be discussed

Options around housing can be discussed in the Transition Reviews and information will be available about different types of accommodation. Various schemes are available in Tameside.

Information will be available about different types of accommodation.

Various schemes are available in Tameside

Support may also be available to enable young people with a learning disability to move on from home and into their own accommodation. Some people may live independently whilst others may need some help, perhaps with looking after their new home, paying bills, cooking meals or shopping for example.

Short Term Breaks

Tameside offers a number of schemes that provide short term breaks to both children and adults with a learning disability and their families.

Again if it is thought that such care will be required in adulthood then this should be discussed and included within the Transition plan.

As well as residential short term care; there is the Family Link Scheme within Children's Social Care and the Adult Placement Scheme within Adult Social Care and Health, linking people with a learning disability to another approved family who will provide care in their home for short or longer periods of time.

"Adult Placement gets me out of my house and is somewhere worthwhile to go. I enjoy going to my carers home and being with her family." JK

Benefits in Tameside

Benefits can prove a complex issue. Benefits regularly change as does the process and criteria to claim them. For the most up to date information about benefits and how to claim, contact your local Benefits Office - Link to External Website, your Social Worker, the Local Authority Welfare Rights Service.

The following are some of the benefits you may be entitled to claim.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DWP) Link to External Website is a benefit that can be claimed by disabled children and adults, including those with a learning disability. It is a non-means tested benefit. This means that the benefit will be paid regardless of financial status and it is usually paid every four weeks.

The benefit is paid in two parts, you can claim both or either and the two parts are referred to as the Care Component and the Mobility Component.

Care Component
This is payable if the person has a physical or mental disability and requires help with personal care, for example washing, dressing, going to the toilet, and cooking.

The Care Component has three different rates: Low, Medium and High. Each rate pays a different amount, dependent on the degree of disability and help required.

Mobility Component
This is payable if the person needs help in getting around, for example needs assistance or someone to be with them when they go out because of a physical disability or because they need help in unfamiliar places.

The Mobility Component has two rates: Low and High. Again each rate pays a different amount, dependent on the degree of disability and help required.

Independent Living Fund
This is an independent discretionary trust fund - set up by the Government in 1993 and based in Nottingham.

The fund works in conjunction with local authorities and provides cash to enable individuals to buy in extra care.

There is an application process that your Social Worker will help with and the Fund is discretionary which means that each person's finances will be taken into consideration.

Direct Payments
Individuals over 16 can ask the Local Authority for Direct Payments instead of services. Direct Payments provide cash payments that allow the individual to buy their own package of care instead of arranging traditional care and support provided by Social Care and Health.

Direct Payments do not affect other benefits and are not classed as income.

There is an application process and an assessment will need to be completed. Your Social Worker or the Direct Payment staff will be able to offer advice and help.


There are many leisure activities available within Tameside with a wide range of groups and organisations.

People with a learning disability are encouraged to participate in activities that any member of the public would like to do.

Support may be available to help people attend activities.

Tameside Advocacy Service

Cloverleaf's new advocacy service in Tameside offers independent, one-to-one advocacy to adults for people with mental health needs,learning disabilities, physical or sensory impairment, people on the autistic spectrum, older people, and carers. 

We also provide the Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service (IMHA) for the area.