All children and young people have the right to full-time education up to the age of 16 and now must attend education, attend training or be employed from 16-18. Many young people with special educational needs and disabilities benefit enormously from these last few years, whether they stay on at school or move to a college of further education.
Secondary schools have experience of supporting young people with decision making about their future after school. They provide careers advice to their students and this must be accessible for children with special educational needs too. Young people who are supported at ‘SEN support’ in school can continue to be supported at a college, if needed. Mainstream colleges have a range of courses. Some of the courses are specifically designed to support young people with SEN, often called ‘foundation learning’. Parents and young people can find out about what is available by looking at the Post-16 section of the local offer which has a summary of colleges, with links to their websites. Colleges also have open days/evenings when you can visit to find out more and discuss your child’s support needs. Your child’s school and prospective college should work together to plan the transition at this important point in their lives to make sure the young person is well prepared and supported. Additional funding for support can be used by the college.
To try and help young people and their families through the process of deciding what to do after school, the Government has introduced what is called Transitions Planning. This will take place during reviews from Year 9 onwards.
If a child/young person has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, the annual reviews from Year 9 onwards will focus on drawing up something called a Transition Plan. This pulls together the views of a range of people about the plans for transition to adult life.
The purpose of transition planning is to ensure that:
- Each young person experiences smooth and timely support to prepare for adulthood so that they are supported to meet their outcomes appropriately;
- Each young person is involved in the process, contributes their views and wishes, and has as much choice as possible about the future outcomes they hope to achieve and how they will be supported in this;
- The parents or carers of each young person are involved in the process as partners, and have clear and early information about how the transition process works and what the options may be for the young person;
- Adult services receive sufficient advance notice of young people whose needs they will be responsible for meeting, so that financial and other planning can be undertaken in time.
Nottinghamshire has a transitions protocol and pathway. To view these and for further information on transitions please click on the following link: Preparing for Adulthood
There is also an interactive version of the transitions pathway, which is a step by step guide for young people aged 13 - 25 with disabilities and special educational needs to support their journey to adulthood and adult services. It contains a range of useful information across education, health and social care, which includes post 16 education and higher education, employment and training opportunities, independent living, health support and welfare rights. To access the pathway please click on the following link: Interactive Transitions Pathway