Moving into adult life

Preparing for Adulthood

Cheshire East Council’s vision for Preparing for Adulthood 

‘All Cheshire East young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities will benefit from a seamless transition process, which builds on high aspirations as they become adult citizens’

The Children and Families Act 2014 sets out substantial new rights and protections for young people. These require a new way of working; in particular, local authorities and their partners will need to work together with young people to help them achieve successful long term outcomes, such as getting a job or going into higher education.

Planning for this will begin from an early age and will be done by working together with multiple agencies, providers, parent carers and the young people themselves. 

Preparing for Adulthood is the strand of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms which aims to support young people with SEND to move into adulthood with fulfilling lives. It focuses on young people aged 14 to 25: the pivotal age at which they start to work out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

It requires a shift in thinking for those working with young children too. Raising aspirations for young people with SEND and planning services to help them reach their goals needs to start in a child’s early years, or as soon as their educational needs come to light. 

The special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years identifies preparing for adulthood as a consistent theme across the reforms. It promotes high expectations and aspirations for what children and young people with SEN and disabilities can achieve, including paid employment, living independently with choice and control over their lives and participating in society. 

The four life outcomes for Preparing for Adulthood are based on what young person with SEND say is important to them:

  • paid employment (including self employment)
  • good health
  • independent living (choice and control over their life and good housing options)
  • community inclusion (friends, relationships and community)  

The case for change 

The case for change is that:

  • we need to identify needs early
  • young people with SEND do less well than their peers at school and college and are more likely to be out of education, training and employment at 18 – we need to improve this
  • schools and colleges can focus too much on the SEND label rather than meeting the child’s needs, and the previous Statements/ Learning Difficulty Assessments did not focus on life outcomes – we need to change this
  • it needs to be easier for families to find out what support is available and to get the help they need from education, health and social care services
  • when a young person leaves school for further education, we need to make sure support, provision and person-centred approaches continue to identify and meet needs so that young people with SEND in Cheshire East can succeed in education and their careers, live as independently and healthily as they are able to and be active members of their communities

For a small number of young people, independent living may not be possible, and their families may be anxious about their ongoing care responsibilities. For these young people, we want to ensure the best quality of life with support for them to fulfil their potential and support for their parents and carers. 

Preparing for adulthood process 

Preparing for Adulthood is a process to ensure schools and other education providers help young people to start planning for their future adult life as early as possible, and by Year 9 at the latest. This goes beyond thinking simply about the transition to post-16 education and training. Education providers will focus on raising aspirations and supporting pupils to go on to achieve the best possible outcomes in employment, independent living and participating in society. 

Early transition planning is critical and needs to be in place for all young people with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, focusing on outcomes and their transition to adulthood and how to achieve them. 

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