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Application process

Admission to our college

In order to support young people who require specialist provision, Ambitious College must be named on their local authority Education Health and Care (EHC) plan. Some of our learners may also be able to access mainstream further education, as offered by our mainstream partners, or take part in our supported internship programme.

Take part in a virtual tour of Ambitious College.


Ambitious College special educational provision  

Ambitious College follows the Ambitious Approach model of education practice, designed to be used in our education settings to support children and young people with autism. It is a values-driven individualised approach to improving quality of life in an environment that understands behaviour and promotes measurable outcomes for young people, enabling us to offer a highly personalised curriculum, with the flexibility to change it as needed, and positively support our learners acquire new skills.  

Find out more about the Ambitious Approach.


Who can apply? 

You have the right to request a place at Ambitious College when you receive a draft EHC plan or a notice amending an existing EHC plan. An example is when a young person’s EHC plan is being redrafted or amended when they move from school to college. The local authority must then apply to us in line with your preference.

Read our blog for more information on how to request a place at a specialist school or college and knowing your rights.


Applying for a place

Placements usually begin in September, but we will consider admission for a young person at other times, with the agreement of the Head of College. 

If you wish to apply, please contact the Admissions team and a member of the team will contact you within one working day.


There are two types of application:

1. Application from parents and carers

Parents and carers are welcome to apply for a place at Ambitious College for a young person after speaking to our Admissions team. Please email to request the two forms that together make up a parent or carer self-referral. The two forms are: 

  • Parent/carer Pre-Entry Assessment Form

Parents and carers are asked to provide as much information as possible about the young person and current documents about them including their EHC plan. 

  • Professionals Assessment Form 

Parents and carers must ask a professional at the young person’s current school or college to complete this form and to return it to us with related current documents including their EHC plan. 

Important: We strongly recommend that you talk to your local authority if you decide to apply, we are happy to help you do this.


2. Application from a Local Authority 

Parents and carers can ask the local authority to apply to us for a place at Ambitious College, whether or not a parent/carer application has been made. We will respond to all local authority requests within 15 days.


Pre-entry assessment

The college Admissions Panel’s decision is made on the basis of the information we get and by an assessment with the young person at their current school or college, or a home visit. 

We are currently unable to carry out face-to-face assessment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we may request additional documents and contact professionals at the current school or college to help the Admissions Panel to make a decision.



The college Admissions Panel meets every week during term time to consider parent/carer applications and applications from local authorities. This panel decides on who will need assessment and makes decisions on those already assessed.


What the Panel considers 

  • Is the college suitable for the young person’s age, ability and special educational needs? 
  • Is the college able to deliver all the special educational provision in Section F of the young person’s EHC plan?
  • Have parents or carers expressed a preference for the college? (Or in cases of dispute does the local authority intend to name Ambitious College on the EHC plan?) 
  • Would the young person’s attendance be incompatible with the education of other learners at the college that they would come into contact with on a regular day-to-day basis, or with the use of college resources? 
  • Is there a place available for the young person?


Making an offer

  • If an offer is made, we will inform parents or carers and the local authority. The offer will be conditional until local authority funding is approved and subject to the place being available at that time. 
  • If an offer is not made, the decision of the Head of College is final, but we will always explain our reasons.


Appealing to the SEND Tribunal

Parents and carers are allowed to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal if their local authority refuses to name the college in their young person’s EHC plan. You can find out more about this process on the website.


Inform us if you plan to appeal

If you decide you will appeal it is important that you let the Admissions team know as soon as possible. We will notify the Head of College who will advise if the place is still available. We then try to provide you with evidence and support, but what we can do will depend on various factors including the number of appeals taking place at the time.

Here, you can find a summary of the admissions process.