Skip to main content

Preparing for Adulthood

All young people face major changes as they move from being teenagers to becoming adults and need to make important decisions about their future.  This change can be even more complicated if you have special educational needs, a learning difficulty or disability.  It is important that these young people receive the right support to achieve a smooth transition into adulthood. 

A successful move can be achieved by providing the right information at the right time along with relevant support before, during and after the transition to a new place of study or work.

The SEND Code of Practice (0-25 years) states that ‘with high aspirations, and the right support, the vast majority of children and young people can go on to achieve successful long-term outcomes in adult life’

Local authorities and education providers must work with young people from Year 9 onwards to prepare them for adult life.  There are four areas that need to be considered:

  • higher education and/or employment – including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
  • independent living – enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and the support they receive, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
  • participating in society – including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • being as healthy as possible in adult life

The journey into adulthood

If a young person has an EHC Plan, schools have to start the formal preparing for adulthood process from Year 9 (aged 13/14), which will be the planning for your child’s move to further education, employment or training.  This means they will invite you, your child and any other professionals involved with your child to a Year 9 Preparing for Adulthood Review meeting. 

Children are supported in advance of the review in order for them to fully understand and maximise the potential opportunity of this review so they are able to make an informed contribution.  Preparation will explore what is important to the child now and for the future, how to support them best and to find out what their aspirations are.

From this meeting transition planning must be written into the revised EHC plan, including how any educational, health and social care needs will be met.  This will include details about planning for the transition from school to further education, training or employment and where relevant, transition arrangements from children’s to adult’s social care and health care services. 

The EHC Plan will be reviewed every 12 months and any appropriate changes will be made following the review.  In Years 10, and 11 the school is responsible for identifying EHC Plan review dates and the person in the school who will be the lead, e.g. the designated Teacher or SENCo.  The school is also responsible for circulating invitations to all key stakeholders.  

For more information about this process speak to your school SENCo or see the “Sunderland Multi-agency preparing for adulthood protocol and pathway for children and young people with SEND”.

The Department for Education have developed an outcomes tool that is designed to support the development of PfA outcomes in EHC plans across the age range. It explores the key indicators for preparing for adulthood at different ages and stages of development.  Download a copy of the tool here.

Back to top