Planning the transition into post-16 education, training, employment and adulthood

To see the open days for colleges and 6th forms in London, open the attachment on left of this page

Young people entering post-16 education and training should be accessing provision which supports them to build on their achievement at school and which helps them progress towards adulthood. As children approach the transition point, schools and colleges should help children and their families with more detailed planning. Schools should seek partnerships with employment services, businesses, housing agencies, disability organisations and arts and sports groups, to help children understand what is available to them as they get older and what is possible for them to achieve. Schools should work in partnership to provide opportunities such as taster courses, link programmes and mentoring which enable young people with SEN to familiarise themselves with the college environment and gain some experience of college life and study. For children with EHC plans, Personal Budgets can be used to help children and young people with SEN to access activities that promote greater independence and learn important life skills. Please see Information, Advice and Support for more information on Personal Budgets.

For teenagers, preparation for adult life needs to be a more explicit element of their planning and support. Discussions about their future will focus on what they want to achieve and the best way to support them to achieve. In year 10 the school will aim to support the child and their family to explore more specific courses or places to study so they can draw up provisional plans. In year 11 the school will aim to support the child and their family to finalise their plans for their post-16 options and familiarise themselves with the expected new setting. This will include a back-up plan in case plans change i.e. because of exam results and the child and their family should know what to do if plans change.

It is important that information about previous SEN provision is shared with the further education or training provider. Schools will share information before the young person takes up their place. Ideally this will be done in the spring term prior to the new course, so that the provider can develop a suitable study programme and prepare appropriate support. Schools should work with children and young people and their families, and the new college or school, to ensure that their new setting has a good understanding of what the young person’s aspirations are and how they would like to be supported. Any sharing of young people’s SEN will be sensitive to their concerns and done with their agreement.

Careers advice for children and young people

Maintained schools and pupil referral units (PRUs) have a statutory duty under section 42A of the Education Act 1997 to ensure pupils from Year 8 until Year 13 are provided with independent careers guidance. Academies, including 16-19 academies, and free schools are subject to this duty through their Funding Agreements. FE colleges also have equivalent requirements in their Funding Agreements- their duty applies to all students up to and including are 18 and will apply to 19-25 years olds with EHC plans.

All young people should be helped to develop the skills and experience and achieve the qualifications they need to succeed in their careers. The vast majority of young people with SEN are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support. One of the most effective ways to prepare young people with SEN for employment is to arrange work-based learning that enables them to have first-hand experience of work. Please see Employment for further information