Post-16 support and preparation for adulthood

This section includes information on:

1. Preparation for adult life

2. What happens when you leave school?

3. Higher Education


Preparation for adult life

You may need an EHC plan until you are 25. However, support from age 16 should encourage you to make your own decisions and to make a successful transition from child to adult services. Particular attention should be given, and support offered to the following areas of adult life:

  • Higher education and employment
  • Independent living – including having control over what you do, and your support and living arrangements
  • Participating in society
  • Being healthy

Support from year 9

If you have an EHC plan, there should be a focus on preparing for adulthood from year 9. Your aspirations and abilities should be taken into consideration, and what post-16 options would help you to achieve what you want to do.

You should be encouraged to set stretching and ambitious outcomes when preparing for adult life.

Planning for higher education and employment should be discussed, as well as any support you might need to prepare for independent living (such as help with finances) and maintaining good health.

Preparing to make your own decisions

After compulsory school age you have the right to make decisions. You can:

  • Request an assessment for an EHC plan
  • Request a personal budget
  • Appeal to the first-tier tribunal
  • Make decisions about what you want to do after school (which college you want to go to, or if you want to complete an apprenticeship etc)

You may need support to express your views. If you need support, your local authority will ensure it is available.

What happens when you leave school?

You have many different options when you leave school at 16. You might want to go to college or you might prefer an apprenticeship – whichever way you should be supported to do what you want to do. Some of the most popular pathways are explained below.


At school, you should receive support with exploring what is the right course for you, where you want to study, and have access to independent career guidance. If you need it, school should ensure that you receive assistance with finalising college plans.

School may work with your new college to run taster days so that you have an idea of what to expect.

If you have special educational needs or an EHC plan, your school should share information with your new college so they can create a study programme designed to meet your needs.

Your new study programme should stretch you, progress your skills and take you to a higher level of study (you should not be learning things you have already been taught).

Non-College options

College is not the only option, and may not be right for you. There are many other great options designed to give you new skills that make you more employable. School should provide you with support in exploring these options and you should have access to independent career guidance.

Some of the most popular options include:


This is a combination of having a job and school. You earn while you learn! You receive on the job practical training in a highly skilled area.


These programmes combine education and training. They are designed to give you the skills and experience you need to apply for a job or apprenticeship in that area.

Supported Internships

This is a programme for young people with an EHC plan. It is based primarily at an employer, and through learning in the workplace you gain skills. They might be unpaid but where possible, they are designed to support you to move into paid employment at the end.

Higher Education

When you move to higher education, you do not have an EHC plan. However, before ceasing the plan, there must be a smooth transition to university.

If you ask your local authority, they will send a copy of your EHC plan to the university, so they gain a better understanding of the support you might need.


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For more information please contact:

01904 554312

01904 555698


York Family Information Service

01904 554444