Returning to education after brain injury

Returning to education after brain injury can be a great way of acquiring the skills and qualifications necessary to return to employment. Studying can also provide pleasure and a sense of purpose, even for those who might not be able to return to work.

  • Reasons for returning to education include:
  • Improving knowledge and skills
  • Gaining qualifications
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Meeting new people
  • Finding out what you can do and what you need help with

Returning to full-time courses can be hard after brain injury, as learning new information is often more difficult. Part-time courses are often the best way to start if you have not been in education for a while.

Sources of help and support

There are a number of sources of help and advice available to help you get back into education.

Local college Learning Support Advisor

It is a good idea to discuss the options before deciding what course to do, especially if you have a new career in mind. Spending time finding out if the course is suitable for you is worth it in the long run.

If you are considering a course at a local college, ask to be put in touch with the Learning Support Advisor. The advisor’s job is to help people who may experience problems and they are often extremely helpful and knowledgeable about strategies to use.

They can advise on suitable courses and any support that is available. They can also help you to access services provided to help people find the correct classroom, develop systems for getting organised, get help with note-taking and receive extra time in exams.


When starting a course it is useful to meet with the tutors and tell them about your injury and how it has affected you. They will often be able to provide extra help, such as providing handouts so you don’t have to take notes, giving you advanced preparation for future study and allowing extra time for assignments.

Learn Direct and the Open University

These organisations provide a wide range of online courses which may be suitable for those who have difficulty attending college. They are very supportive of students with disabilities and people on benefits can often get reduced course fees, or even free courses.


National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – Charity that provides a range of support services to help people with all kinds of disabilities to study (see ‘Useful Organisations’ for contact details).

Financial support

There are a number of options available to get help with the costs of studying. Colleges often have discretionary funds that you can apply for and your local college will be able to tell you about any help they can provide. There are a number of government grants and loans available, such as:

  • Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
  • The Adult Learning Grant (ALG)
  • Care to Learn
  • The Sixth Form College Childcare Scheme
  • The Free Childcare for Training and Learning for Work scheme
  • Dance and Drama Awards
  • The Residential Support Scheme for people studying away from home
  • Professional and Career Development Loans
  • Residential Support Scheme
  • Fifty Plus In-Work Training Grant
  • Individual Learning Account (Wales and Scotland only)

The availability of these funds varies in different areas of the UK and Channel Islands.