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Preparation for Adulthood Pathways

From age 14, young people start to consider what they want to do with their lives. Some young people need support to be more independent as they reach adulthood. Some young people need help to make choices and to take control over decisions that affect them.

Preparation for Adulthood describes the period between the ages of 14 and 25 when young people, their families and others who support them consider:

  • Employment - opportunities to experience the world of work and achieve paid employment or a positive economic contribution
  • Developing Independence - maximising skills to live as independently as possible
  • Community Inclusion - developing friends, relationships, networks of support and accessing community events and facilities
  • Good Health - maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being able to access preventative and emergency healthcare services

Supporting young people to build a firm foundation in the local community ready for when they leave formal education or training can be complex because sometimes it needs professionals from different areas – education, health, social care, housing and employment – to work together to achieve good outcomes for the young person.

We hope that the information in this guide will help you find your way around this process. In the SEN Local Offer you will find related information about funding for post 16 SEN education provision and SEN Support in mainstream schools and colleges.

Who is this for?

  • Young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and their families
  • Service providers in the London Borough of Merton: Local Authority, health, schools, colleges, training providers, the voluntary sector or anyone who works with children or young people with SEN or a disability aged 14 to 25

Year 9 (aged 13 to 14)

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

You need to begin to consider your future learning needs

You should be fully involved in setting your own targets

  • What are your aspirations?
  • How can you achieve them?
  • What next?

 What are your post 16 options?

  • School 6th form or 6th form college (mainstream)
  • Further Education College (FE College) with support to access mainstream courses, if needed
  • Apprenticeship (training / learning whilst in paid work); NQF level 2 or 3
  • Traineeship (training / learning whilst in unpaid work): NQF Level 2 or below
  • Up to age 18, you must remain in full-time education, work-based learning, or part-time learning (if you work or volunteer for 20 hours or more per week)
  • If you are below NQF Level 2 in Maths or English, you must continue to study these subjects post 16
  • In addition, if you are disabled you are eligible for GP Annual Health Checks from age 14

 Who will help?

  • SENCO / education provider
  • Independent careers advisors in schools
  • Other professionals who may be working with you e.g. social worker
  • Schools and colleges may offer open days, taster sessions and school visits
  • Apprenticeship and traineeship websites
  • Merton Family Services Directory and SEN Local Offer
  • National Careers Service
  • GP Finder
  • Merton Independent Advice and Support Service (MIASS)

 What next?

  • Ask for advice and support to help find the right course for you
  • Consider where you may want to visit in year 10 and where you might apply to in year 11
  • Apply for a 14 to 25 Railcard or Disabled Person’s Railcard if you use train services regularly

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

Your EHCP should be updated this year and include outcomes for the 4 “Preparing for Adulthood Categories” listed above

  • What are your aspirations?
  • How can you achieve them?
  • What can services do to support you?
  • What extra information do you need?

 What are your post 16 options?

  • School 6th Form or 6th Form college with or without an additionally resourced provision (ARP); normally courses are at NQF Level 2 or 3
  • Special School 6th form
  • Further Education (FE) College (with support to access mainstream courses); NQF Levels 1, 2 or 3
  • FE College Supported Learning Unit / Specialist Hub; entry level courses with option to progress to NQF level 1+
  • FE College Complex Needs Unit; entry level or below
  • Apprenticeship (training / learning whilst in paid work); NQF level 2 or 3
  • Traineeship (training / learning whilst in unpaid work): NQF Level 2 or below
  • Independent Specialist College or 6th Form; various levels
  • Other: alternative education if unable to access other options
  • If you are below NQF Level 2 in Maths or English, you must continue to study these subjects post 16 Up to age 18, you must remain in full time education, work-based learning, or part-time learning (and work/volunteer for 20 hours or more per week)
  • From age 14, if you are disabled you are eligible for GP Annual Health Checks

Who will help?

  • School SENCo / education provider
  • Merton SEN Team - you will be allocated a 14 to 25 Senior Case Officer
  • Independent careers advisors in school
  • Other professionals who may be working with you, such as a social worker
  • Schools and colleges offer open days, taster sessions and school visits
  • Apprenticeship and trainee websites
  • Merton SEN Local Offer and Family Services Directory
  • National Careers Service
  • GP Finder
  • Merton Independent Advice and Support Service (MIASS)

What next?

  • Ask for advice and support to help find the right course for you
  • Consider where you may want to visit
  • Liaise with Merton’s SEN Team
  • Apply for a Freedom Pass if you are eligible and don’t already have one
  • If you use trains regularly to go outside London, apply for a 14 to 25 Railcard or Disabled Person’s Railcard (which gives a discount for a carer)

Year 10 (aged 14 to 15)

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

As for Year 9

What are your post 16 options?

As for Year 9

Who will help?

As for Year 9

What next?

Begin to visit possible post-16 placements unless you are in a maintained school which 7 has offered you a firm place

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

As for year 9

What are your post 16 options?

As for year 9

Who will help?

If you are known to the Children with Disabilities Team and have a learning disability, you may be referred to Adult Social Care Learning Disabilities Team for an initial contact

What next?

Begin to visit possible post-16 placements

Tell Merton’s SEN Team about your options and plans as early as possible

Year 11 (aged 15 to 16)

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • Consider what will help you to transition well to a new placement or into the 6th Form?
  • Are you able to travel independently?
  • Do you receive benefits? Will these change when you are 16?
  • Do you need support to express your own views?
  • Do you need support to make good career choices in line with your aspirations?

 What are your post 16 options?

  • As for year 10 plus;
  • At 16, you can apply for volunteer roles and paid work during holidays / weekends
  • You can apply to attend NCS The Challenge this year (summer holiday programme)
  • From age 16, you choose which placement to attend, rather than your parents
  • (although most young people welcome parental guidance)
  • At 16, you can choose to receive DLA/PIP into your own account

 Who will help?

  • As for year 10 plus:
  • Benefits Advisors
  • Merton Volunteer Centre
  • NCS The Challenge website
  • If you are changing to a new placement, your current support staff will work with your new placement and help you to transition successfully

 What next?

  • Apply for and make a decision about your next placement
  • Have plan B ready if your offer is conditional (e.g. you have to achieve certain grades)
  • You will need to give the Local Authority permission for your SEN information to be shared with potential new placements

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • Consider what will help you to transition well to a new placement or into the 6th form?
  • Are you able to travel independently? Do you qualify for travel training?
  • Do you receive benefits? Will these change when you are 16?
  • Are you able to open a bank account?
  • Can you look after your own money / benefits or do you require a deputy?
  • How will you be supported to express your own views and choices?
  • Do you need support to make good career / life choices?

What are your post 16 options?

As for year 10 plus:

  • At 16, you can apply for volunteer roles and paid work in the holidays and weekends
  • You can apply to attend NCS The Challenge this year. This is a summer holiday programme
  • From age 16, you choose which placement you wish to attend, rather than your parents, although most young people welcome their advice and guidance, as before
  • At 16, If you receive DLA/PIP, you can choose to receive it directly into your account rather than through your parents
  • At 16, you may be eligible for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if a doctor considers that you have a limited capability for work, even though you are in full time education or training

Who will help?

As for year 10 plus:

  • Merton Benefits Advisors
  • Merton SEN Transport Coordinator (SEN Team)
  • Merton Volunteer Centre
  • NCS The Challenge website
  • If you are changing to a new placement, your current support staff will work with your new placement to help with your transition
  • Your updated EHCP should be sent to your new placement by 31 March

What next?

  • As soon as possible, make a decision about your next education or training placement
  • We may ask for authority to share your SEN information with potential new placements so that we can consult with them
  • Inform Merton Council’s SEN Team about your choices in the Autumn term, if possible
  • Have plan B ready if your offer is conditional (such as on achieving certain grades)

Year 12 (aged 16 to 17)

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

Begin to think about preparation for adult life:

  • What are your aspirations?
  • Where will you live?
  • What work will you do?
  • How will you engage in the community and leisure activities?
  • How will your health be managed?
  • Are you able to travel independently?
  • Do you receive benefits, and how will these change when you are 18?
  • Do you need support to express your views?
  • Are you consulted directly about all key decisions that affect you and fully involved in setting your own targets?

 What are your post 18/19 options?

  • FE College mainstream courses (with support, if needed)
  • University or higher education
  • Apprenticeship / Traineeship (training or learning whilst in paid or unpaid work)
  • Paid work
  • Other options such as a Princes Trust Course, Vocational Training Courses, Self-employment
  • At 18, you can choose to leave education or training, if you wish

Who will help?

  • School SENCo / staff
  • Independent careers advisors in school or college
  • Other professionals working with you e.g. social worker
  • Colleges/Universities open days and taster sessions
  • Apprenticeship and traineeship websites
  • Merton Family Services Directory and SEN Local Offer
  • Young Merton Website
  • National Careers Service
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Merton Volunteer Centre
  • Merton My Futures Team / Insight not accessing education or training
  • Merton Independent Advice and Support Service (MIASS)

 What next?

  • Plan visits to post 18 placements
  • Practise the skills needed for interviews and applications
  • Do as much work experience as you can to build up your CV / personal statement
  • Consider opening a bank account if you don’t already have one
  • Work on travel skills as much as you can

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

Begin to think about adult life:

  • What are your aspirations?
  • Where will you live?
  • What work will you do?
  • How will you engage in the community and leisure activities?
  • Will some of your activities / clubs finish when you are 18?
  • How will your health be managed?
  • Are you able to travel independently?
  • Do you receive benefits, and how will these change when you are 18?
  • How will you be supported to express your views?
  • Are you consulted directly about all key decisions that affect you and fully involved in setting your own targets?

What are your post 18/19 options?

  • FE College (with support to access mainstream courses)
  • FE College Supported Learning Unit / Specialist Hub
  • FE College Complex Needs Unit
  • University / Higher Education
  • Supported Internship
  • Independent Specialist College (if you have complex needs)
  • Apprenticeship / Traineeship (training / learning whilst in paid or unpaid work)
  • Paid Work
  • Other options such as a Princes Trust Course, Independent Training Courses, Self-employment
  • Other: alternative education if unable to access other options but you wish to remain in education or training
  • At 18, you can choose to leave education or training, if you wish

Who will help?

  • School SENCo / staff
  • Merton Council’s SEN Team
  • Independent careers advisors in school/college
  • Other professionals working with you, such as your social worker
  • Colleges/Universities open days and taster sessions
  • Apprenticeship and traineeship websites
  • Merton SEN Local Offer
  • National Careers Service
  • Job Centre Plus Disability Employment Advisors
  • Merton Volunteer Centre
  • Young Merton Website
  • Voluntary Sector, such as Merton Mencap, CIL
  • Merton My Futures Team / Insight not accessing education or training
  • Merton Independent Advice and Support Service (MIASS) 

Year 13 (aged 17 to 18)

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • Have you chosen your post 18 learning and/or work placement?
  • If you receive specialist NHS services, are you prepared to move to an adult service when you are 18, for being discharged or are you moving to a lower level of community or primary care?
  • If you are a looked after child (LAC) are you aware of your right to leaving care services until the age of 21?
  • Are you are a young offender in a secure setting serving a Detention and Training Order (DTO)?

What are your post 18/19 options?

As for year 12 plus:

  • At 18, you will be consulted directly about all key decisions
  • At 18, you can go onto the Council’s housing register and are eligible to claim housing benefit
  • At 18, you are eligible to vote in elections
  • At 18, you are eligible to claim housing benefit if you do not live with your parents
  • At 18, you can access adult education courses
  • If serving a DTO you should not move to an adult prison at 18

Who will help?

As for year 12 plus:

  • UCAS (for university undergraduate applications)
  • Merton-I (Merton’s Community Services and Wellbeing Directory)
  • Adult providers e.g. adult NHS services
  • Housing Advice page on Merton Council’s website
  • Young Offenders continue to receive special educational support, if needed, up to age 18
  • South Thames College - Adult Education Services

What next?

  • Apply for a post 18 placement in the Autumn Term
  • Apply for a job or apprenticeship/traineeships a few months prior to leaving school
  • Register as a voter

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

As for year 12 plus:

  • Are you known to the Children with Disabilities Social Care Team (CWDT), have a learning disability (mental impairment) and are likely to need adult social care services?
  • If you receive specialist NHS services, have you been prepared for a move to an adult service when you are 18, for being discharged or for moving to a lower level of community or primary care?
  • If you are a looked after child (LAC) are you aware of your right to leaving care services until the age of 21?
  • Are you are a young offender in a secure setting serving a Detention and Training Order (DTO)?

What are your post 18/19 options?

As for year 12 plus:

  • If known to the CWDT you will be assessed by adult social care learning disabilities team and, if eligible, you will be allocated a social worker
  • If you receive respite care services, you may move to an adult provider at 18 if you are eligible for adult services
  • At 18, you can go onto the Council housing register and are eligible to claim housing benefit
  • At 18, you are eligible to vote in elections
  • At 18 (19 if completing a 2 year course), you need to reapply for Transport Assistance
  • At 18, you will be consulted directly by service providers although you may continue to need support to engage fully
  • At 18, you can access adult education courses
  • If serving a DTO you should not move to an adult prison at 18

Who will help?

As for year 12:

  • UCAS (for university applications)
  • Merton-i (Merton’s Community Services and Wellbeing Directory)
  • Adult providers e.g. adult NHS services, Adult Social Care LD Team
  • Housing Advice (see Merton Council’s website)
  • Professionals should arrange smooth transitions between children’s and adult services
  • Professionals will support you to express your views and listen to you
  • South Thames College for Adult Education Services

What next?

As for year 12 plus:

  • Visit potential post 18/19 placements
  • Register for new activities / clubs that you will access when you are 18
  • Transition to adult social care respite settings, if eligible
  • Register as a voter
  • From age 18, if you leave education or training and do not wish to return, your EHCP will cease
  • If you move to higher education (NQF Level 4 or above), your EHCP will cease

Post 18 Young Person without an EHCP

Young person without an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • If you have a disability, colleges and employers should make reasonable adjustments under the Equalities Act 2010 - are you aware of these?
  • Are you aware that you may need to pay for education or training courses post 18?

 What are your post 18/19 options?

As for year 13 plus:

  • Speak to your college / university about course fees and sources of funding, ask for support to understand the process if you need this
  • There are a range of bursaries, grants and loans available to fund your learning
  • Once you leave formal education, you may continue to access part or full time adult learning and skills opportunities

 Who will help?

  • Merton SEN Local Offer, Family Services Directory and Young Merton
  • Your school/college will provide careers advice
  • National Careers Service
  • Citizens Advice Services
  • Specialist Employability Support Scheme (SES)
  • Job Centre Plus Disability Employment Advisors

What next?

Move to your chosen post 18 pathway

Year 14 (aged 18 to 19)

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • Have you started to explore options for post 18 learning and/or paid work
  • Are you receiving support to be fully involved in all choices affecting you?
  • Are you aware of all benefits that you qualify for?

What are your post 18/19 options?

  • Options as described in Year 12 above plus
  • Changes of residential placements should be planned by providers
  • Under the Care Act 2014, those who need it should be offered an independent advocate to support them with key decision and assessments

Who will help?

  • Merton-i website and SEN Local Offer
  • Adult providers e.g. adult NHS services, adult social care LD Team
  • Housing Advice (see Merton Council’s website)
  • Merton Employment Team (learning disability service)
  • Voluntary Sector e.g. Merton Mencap, Centre for Independent Living
  • Citizens Advice Services

What next?

  • Apply for a post 19 placement in the Autumn Term
  • Keep Merton’s SEN Team informed of your plans
  • If you are applying for work or for an apprenticeship / traineeship, you need to wait until a few months prior to leaving school
  • Once you have left education or training, your EHCP will cease

Post 19 Young Person with an EHCP

Young person with an EHCP

Changes or decisions to consider

  • Have you chosen to remain in education or training and are your outcomes related to the 4 ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ areas?
  • How will your housing needs and wishes change in the next few years?
  • Do you have a plan about how to keep in touch with friends and peers once you leave education and training?

 What are your post 18/19 options?

  • Options as described in Year 12 above
  • Housing options include living with family members, private rental, social housing, supported living, shared lives scheme, a specialist residential placement, or other schemes depending on your needs
  • Once you leave formal education, you may continue to access part or full time adult learning and skills opportunities

Who will help?

As for Year 14 plus:

  • Your EHCP will be reviewed each year by Merton’s SEN Team
  • Merton-i website
  • Job Centre Plus Disability Employment Advisors
  • Specialist Employability Support Scheme (SES)
  • Merton Adult Education
  • Housing advice services

What next?

  • During the next few years, you will complete your education or training and your EHCP will cease
  • If you are eligible, apply for Dial A Ride and/or the London Taxi-card Scheme

General Principles

  • Annual reviews of EHCPs should be combined with and/or coordinated with those of other agencies e.g. Health Care Review, Looked After Child Review, Child in Need Meeting, Adult Social Care Transition Planning Meeting
  • When transitioning between a children’s service and adult’s service, there should be no gap in provision purely as a result of the changeover between agencies
  • When someone is not eligible for an adult service having received services as a child, families should be signposted to alternative community provision, wherever possible

What are Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) Levels?

Accredited qualifications can be achieved across a wide range of different courses from personal development for those with complex needs through to doctorates and higher degrees.

You can down load the Register of Regulated Qualifications to see the courses/qualifications that are funded by the EFA (Education Funding Agency) for pupils from ages 16 – 19. The list shows the RQF level for each course.

Entry Levels 1 to 3 or Foundation Learning

3 is the highest grade. Entry Levels are for students who are not yet able to achieve any grade at GCSE. Success at this level will allow you to study at RQF Level 1.

Level 1

To start studying at this level you will have successfully completed an Entry Level 3 or gained GCSEs at grades E–G. Level 1 is equivalent to GCSEs at grade D. From here you can step up to a Level 2 qualification or apply for a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

Level 2

If you have mainly D grades at GCSE or have successfully completed your Level 1 course then this level is for you. It is equivalent to GCSEs at grades A* to C.

Level 3

To be on this step you will usually need a minimum of 4 or 5 GCSEs at A*- C or Merit grades on your Level 2 course. Advanced Level Apprenticeships are at level 3.

If you study above this level, you are no longer eligible for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP); if you currently have one, it will now cease

What is full time study?

A full time course means a minimum of 540 teaching/directed learning hours per year although many programmes offer more (often 600 or 16 hours per week).

Mainstream school 6th Form or 6th Form College

  • You are likely to have some free periods for independent study and more freedom to be off site or at home when you are not required in lessons.

Further Education

  • Students in mainstream settings are free to come and go according to their timetable
  • Typically study is for 16 – 20 hours across 3 - 4 days per week. The remaining time can be used for independent study, completing coursework, studying Maths or English or attending a work experience placement
  • For those with an EHCP, and depending on identified needs, hours of engagement may be increased by other provision such as travel training or social group sessions
  • Specialist units in FE Colleges provide lower staff pupil ratios, staff trained and experienced in working with SEN pupils and more secure or protected learning areas

Special Schools

  • Special school 6th Forms normally offer a full 5 day curriculum in the same way as for pre-16

Independent specialist colleges or 6th Forms

  • A small number of students have needs that are not able to be met by maintained provision. The decision about whether to commission and independent setting is made by the Local Authority (panel / Decision Making Group)
  • Courses vary depending on the needs the setting caters for

Apprenticeships

  • These normally involve 4 days at work plus 1 day at college, although sometimes they include an evening course

Traineeships

  • These are for between 6 weeks and 6 months and prepare people for an Apprenticeship or work application; they offer 100 to 240 hours of work experience as well as work-readiness skills and can run over 3 to 5 days depending on the provider

Supported Internships

The duration and hours vary depending on the provider. They all include supported work experience placements (supported by a job coach) and supported learning (often on the employer’s premises). Work placements are rotated to allow students to sample different jobs.

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