What to expect: Age19-25

Higher Education and Further Education Funding

Further education colleges must continue to use their best endeavors to secure the special educational provision needed by all young people aged 19-25 with SEN attending their institution. 19 to 25 years olds with EHC plans should have free access to further education. Colleges or training provided will not charge young people tuition fees for such places as the funding will be provided by the local authority and the Education Funding Authority (EFA).

Apprentices ages 19 to 25 with EHC plans are fully funded on the same terms and funding rates as 16 to 18 year old apprentices.

Colleges are funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for all students age 19 and over who do not have an EHC plan (including those who declare a learning difficulty or disability). Colleges are able to charge fees for these students, but must do their best to secure the necessary special education provision they need. However, students who meet residency and eligibility criteria will have access to Government funding. See the SFA website for more information.

Leaving education or training

Where a young person with an EHC plan will soon be completing their time in education or training, the local authority should use the annual review prior to ending the EHC plan to agree the support and specific steps needed to help the young person to engage with the services and provision they will be accessing once they have left education. This transition should be planned with timescales and clear responsibilities and the young person should know what will happen when their EHC plan ends. During this planning process, the local authority will continue to maintain the young person’s EHC plan as long as the young person needs it and remains in education and training.

Transition to Adult Services

Under no circumstances should young people find themselves suddenly without support or care as they make the transitions to adult services. Transitions to adult services for those with EHC plans should begin at an appropriate annual review and in many cases will take place over several months or years.

Under the Care Act 2014 local authorities must continue to provide a young person with children’s services after they have reached 18 years old, until they have decided whether it is appropriate to transfer the young person to adult services. This is to ensure that there is no gap in the care and support that the young person is receiving. In deciding whether it is appropriate to transfer the young person to adult services, following the transition assessment, the local authority will decide that the young person:

  • Does not have needs for adult care and support, or
  • Does have such needs and begins to meet some or all of them, or
  • Does have such needs but decides it is not going to meet them (either because they or not eligible needs or because they are already being met).

The local authority can also decide to continue to provide care and support from children’s services after the young person has turned 18. This can continue until the EHC is no longer in place or a decision is made that children’s services are no longer suitable. The local authority must then continue children’s services until they completed the transition steps explained above. For more information on adult services see Care.

Transition assessment for young people with EHC plans

For a young person with an EHC plan, the local authority should ensure that the transition to adult care and support:

  • Is well planned
  • Is included with the annual reviews of the EHC plan
  • Reflects existing special educational and health provision that is in place to help the young person prepare for adulthood.

Transition assessments for adult care and support must:

  • Involve the young person and anyone else they want to involve in the assessment
  • Include the outcomes, views and wishes that matter to the young person

Transition assessments for adult care and support will consider:

  • Current needs for care and support
  • Whether the young person is likely to have needs for care and support after they turn 18, and;
  • If so, what those needs are likely to be and which are likely to be eligible needs.

Once a transition assessment has been carried out, the local authority must give an indication of which needs are likely to be considered as eligible so that the young person understand the care and support they are likely to receive once children’s service involvement ends. Where a young person’s needs are not eligible for adult services the local authority must:

  • Provide information and advice about how those needs may be met
  • Provide information about provisions and support that young people can access in their local area

Young people with both EHC plans and statutory care and support plans

Local authorities must put in place a statutory care and support plan for young people with eligible needs and meet the needs of the young person set out in their care and support plan. Where young people aged 18 and over continue to have EHC plans, and are receiving care and support under adult services. The statutory adult care and support plan should form the ‘care’ element of the EHC plan:

  • The care element of the EHC plan must meet the requirements of adult services
  • A copy of the EHC plan should be kept by adult services

EHC plan will be the main plan that will be used to ensure that young people are receiving the support they need and it will be set out in section H2 of the EHC plan any adult care and support that is reasonably required by the young person’s learning difficulties or disabilities. Local authorities should ensure that the systems and processes for assessment and review of EHC plans and care and support plans are fully joined up for young people who will have both. Every effort should be made to ensure that young people with both EHC plans and care and support plans:

  • Do not have to attend multiple reviews held by different services
  • Do not have to provide duplicate information
  • Does not receive support that is not joined up and coordinated

When a young person’s EHC plan is due to come to an end, the local authorities will put in place plans for the support the young person will be receiving across adult services. Where a care and support plan is already in place, this will remain as the young person’s statutory plan for care and support. Local authorities will review the provision of adult and care support at this time as the young person’s circumstances will be changing significantly as they leave the formal education and training system.