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Transitions Guide - Preparing for Transition in Years 12 and 13 (age 17 to 19)

Being supported towards greater independence and employability can be life-transforming for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This preparation for adulthood should happen from their earliest years and no later than by Year 9 (age 13 or 14). When a young person turns 18, they are considered as adults in their own rights for most services.

This article covers the preparation for transition in the following areas:

  • Education and training
  • Health
  • Social Care
  • Finance and Benefits

Education and training

Young people must continue in education or training until their 18th birthday.

All students aged 16 to 19 years should follow a study programme that stretches them, prepares them for adulthood, and supports their progression into work or further study. For students who have an EHC plan, a study programme can apply up to the age of 25.

Study programmes should always include English and maths, but at an appropriate level. Some students with SEND will be able to work towards achieving GCSE grade C (4) or above, whereas others may qualify for an exemption from the requirement to attain a grade C (4).

While some students with SEND should be on study programmes which help them achieve academic qualifications, others will benefit more from programmes which concentrate on high-quality work experience and other non-qualification activities to help them prepare for employment and adult life.


Young people can undertake Supported Internships or Traineeships which aim to prepare them for employment or apprenticeships. You can find more information about apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships on the following advice page: Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships.


Having the right education and training outcomes for your child specified in their EHC plan is very important at this stage. This is because the decision whether a young person aged 19-25 still needs an EHC plan with depend on whether they have achieved their education and training outcomes – and if they haven’t, whether remaining in education/training will help them to achieve them.


If your child’s main need is related to their health, they should be referred for an Adult Continuing Health Care Assessment. This should be done well before their 18th birthday, to allow enough time for the assessment to be completed and for any discussions about the care they are entitled to.

Adult health services use Hospital Passports for people with learning disabilities as a way of sharing important information about the patient and how best to care for them. To download a Hospital Passport that you can complete on your computer, go to

If there is no equivalent adult health service for your child to transition to, their health needs will be managed by their GP.

Community Health Services

If your child has a learning disability, they should be referred to the Community Learning Disability Team at Love Street. This service offers specialist health care assessment and interventions including: psychiatry, psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and community nurses. For more information, call 0114 2262900 or search the Sheffield Directory (

If your child has autism or ADHD and no associated learning disabilities, they can be referred to the Sheffield Adult Autism and Neurodevelopmental Service (SAANS) for assessment, support and counselling. For more information, see or call 0114 271 6968 or 0114 271 8133.

Social Care

The Care Act 2104 includes important legal duties on local authorities about what must happen when a child makes the transition from children’s to adult services.

If your young person is likely to need support from adult social care, the local authority must complete a transition assessment before they reach the age of 18. This duty also applies if your young person is not currently receiving children’s social services but may need services as an adult, e.g. if they have a degenerative condition or a mental health problem.

You or your young person can ask for an assessment. The Care Act does not say that the young person has to be a certain age to be able to ask for an assessment. It says that local authorities must consider, in all cases, whether there would be a ‘significant benefit’ to the individual in doing an assessment. Guidance also suggests that assessments should take place when it is easier to understand what the needs of your young person will be beyond the age of 18.


Ensuring there is no gap in services

When a local authority assesses a young person who is already receiving support from children’s social care, the Care Act requires them to continue providing support through the assessment process until adult services are in place to take over – or until it is clear after the assessment that adult care and support will not be provided. There should be no gap in services.


The support your young person can get from Adult Social Care may be different from the services they received as a child. What kind of support they will get depend upon the needs identified in the assessment and how those needs are best met. The National Eligibility Criteria set out in the Care Act require the person to have significant difficulty achieving at least two specified outcomes. A summary of the National Eligibility Criteria can be found on this website: More details about eligibility and the assessment procedure are available on the following website:

When an assessment is carried out, information should be given about whether your young person is likely to have eligible needs for care and support when they turn 18 and an indication of the sort of support they can expect. If the local authority decides not to carry out an assessment, it must explain in writing why it has reached that decision and provide information and advice about what can be done to prevent or delay the development of care and support needs.

Adult Social Care take a conversational approach to assessment so that the young person and family can explore with the worker what the young person’s hopes and aspirations are for their future, as well as the here and now.

In addition to understanding the young person’s needs within the eligibility criteria of the Care Act, Adult Social Care focuses on what the young person can do and what the family, friends and the local community can do to support that young person to live their life.

The service does not have blanket rules about what they do and don’t provide. They firmly believe in assistive technology as a great way to mitigate risk in the least restrictive way. Assistive technology like alarm systems, suitable beds and environmental controls all seek to maximise independence and inclusion in the least restrictive ways.

Adult Social Care will also explore with the young person whether or not they have health needs that are over and above what is reasonable for Adult Social Care to meet. In those situations they help to make a referral to the Clinical Commissioning Group for a Continuing Health Care assessment. More details about assessments for Continuing healthcare are available on the following website:

Please note: Support from Adult Social Care for young people aged 18 and over is chargeable. A national formula is used to work out what the young person can afford to pay. The charging assessment can take place during the needs assessment, so that the young person and their family can take account of what the support will cost during support planning.


Carers’ Needs Assessments

The Care Act gives local authorities a responsibility to assess your needs for support as a carer. This assessment should consider:

  • The impact of caring on you
  • What you want from life:
    • Are you able or willing to carry on caring?
    • Do you work or want to work?
    • Do you want to study or do more socially?

When the assessment is complete, the local authority must decide whether your needs are ‘eligible’ for support. If they are, a support plan will be agreed, setting out how your needs will be met, e.g. help with housework, respite care etc.

In Sheffield, Sheffield City Council has commissioned the Sheffield Carers Centre to carry out Carers’ Needs Assessments and support planning for carers who have “eligible needs”. This applies to carers who are looking after an adult aged 18 years and above who is a resident of Sheffield.

To ask for a Carers’ Needs Assessment, contact Sheffield Carers Centre on 0114 278 8942, email or fill out the form on their website:

Please note: Support received directly by the carer is not charged, but additional support to the cared for person arising from a Carer’s Needs Assessment is chargeable as well as any other support to the young person arising from their own assessment.

Finance and benefits

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 years who are on a low income, out of work or unable to work. It is replacing most of the means-tested benefits for people in this age group.

A young person aged 18 or over may be able to get Universal Credit if they are on a low income or out of work, and they and their partner have £16,000 or less in savings.

If a young person aged 18 or over is still in education, they can only get Universal Credit if all of the following apply:

  • they are in “non-advanced education” (this is any qualification up to A Level or equivalent)
  • they are under the age of 21
  • they have no parental support

There are different rules for 16 and 17-year-olds:

For a full list of eligibility conditions, go to:

If the young person declares a disability or health condition when they make a claim for Universal Credit, they may be asked to attend a “Work Capability Assessment”. The outcome of this assessment determines whether they will be required to look for work or prepare for work as a condition for getting Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides a programme of intensive support for all 18 to 21 year olds making a new claim to Universal Credit who are required to prepare or look for work. This is known as the Youth Obligation Support Programme.

Please note: If a young person is aged 18 or over and getting residential or community care services from adult social care, getting Universal Credit could lead to them being asked to pay some charges towards those services. More information:


Access to Work

Access to Work is a government grant scheme which is aimed at supporting disabled people to take up or remain in work. Grants can be given for a wide range of interventions that help to break down barriers to work. For example, communication support at job interviews; a reader for somebody with a visual impairment; a specialist job coach for a person with a learning disability; specialist aids and equipment; awareness training for colleagues; help towards taxi fares for someone who cannot use public transport; alterations to premises; or access to a mental health support service.

To qualify for the scheme, the young person must be aged 16 or over and have a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for them to do parts of their job or travel to and from work. They must also be employed or self-employed; have received a job offer; or be on an apprenticeship, traineeship, supported internship, work trial or work experience. Support is also available for job interviews.

The amount of money the young person can get will depend on their circumstances. It doesn’t have to be paid back and will not affect their other benefits.

Contact: 0800 1217479 /

From the rest of the 14 to 25 Transitions Guides

You can find advice for other stages in transition on the following advice pages, which include specific advice on the topics listed:

Preparing for Transition in Year 9 (age 13 to 14)

  • Education
  • Health

Preparing for Transition in Year 10 (age 14 to 15)

  • Education
  • Transport

Preparing for Transition in Year 11 (age 15 to 16)

  • Education
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Legal Matters
  • Finance and Benefits

Young adults (age 19 to 25)

  • Education and training
  • Transport and travel
  • Employment
Last Updated: 11/03/2020
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