Transition involves the many changes that occur as a young person moves through their teenage years and into adult life. These changes may include the transition from school to college, college to adult life and include thinking about and planning for employment, housing, good health and accessing things in the community. Schools, colleges health and social care should work together to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities to prepare for adult life.

Preparing for Adulthood is a key element of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms that aims to improve young people’s achievement of the four key life outcomes:

  • Employment and further education
  • Living independently
  • The best health possible
  • Having friends and relationships and being able to participate in the local community

The process includes the preparation and planning needed to support young people to move from school to further education choices such as sixth form or college and university. Depending on the needs of the young person, it may include the move from children’s social care and paediatric health services to adult social care and health services.

The SEND Code of Practice Chapter 8 highlights the need for this preparation to start early and centre on the young person’s own aspirations, interests and needs. The Department for Education Outcomes Chart illustrates the preparing for adulthood outcomes across the age ranges for children and young people with SEND. 

When does the process start?

The process starts in Year 9 (age 13 – 14) and can carry on until age 25, if necessary. Young people that have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) must have Preparing for Adulthood Reviews and receive information, advice and support about their options and choices. All young people with an EHCP have an allocated Education, Health and Care Plan Co-ordinator.

The process will continue through to Year 12 (age 16 - 17). If a young person is identified to have additional needs in relation to a learning disability or autism they will be referred to the Adult Transition Team to prepare them for the transition into adult services. The referral is usually made  by children's Education, Health or Care services involved. Find out more about the Adult Transition Team on the link below.

Additional Information and Support

For more information and resources and to find out a little bit more about what young people can expect to happen as they go through this process have a look at the below sources of information. This information may also be of interest and use to young people with non-statutory Support Plans who receive SEN support in school or college.

Young people age 16 years or above or their parents/carers can contact SENDIAS for independent information, support and advice at any point in the SEND process.

Return to Preparing for Adulthood

Last updated: 14 March 2024 13:43:47

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