Preparing for adulthood

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

Local authorities must ensure that the EHC plan review at Year 9, and every review thereafter, includes a focus on preparing for adulthood. It can be helpful for EHC plan reviews before Year 9 to have this focus too.

Planning must be centred around the individual and explore the child or young person’s aspirations and abilities, what they want to be able to do when they leave post-16 education or training, and the support they need to achieve their ambition. (8.9)

It is expected that preparation for adulthood begins from year 9 as part of the Year 9 Annual Review.

The local authority has to provide support to enable you to plan ahead as your child approaches their 18th birthday, so that there are no gaps in services.

Section 58 of The Care Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to carry out an assessment of a child’s needs where this would be of ‘significant benefit’ to the child, and if it is likely they will have care and support needs when they turn 18. 

Preparing for adulthood reviews should include discussion about support with:

  • further learning, training or employment
  • living independently
  • planning health services and support to maintain good health
  • how to take part in society including using transport, help to find activities and with friends and relationships.

As part of your child’s Annual Review you could ask for an assessment of their care needs, in preparation for adulthood. The local authority can be flexible with the timing of the assessment, and they decide whether and when there is ‘significant benefit’ to assessing needs.


Where a young person has Autism, they have a right to a community care assessment and their parents have a right to a carer’s assessment.

The duty lies with the SENCO (or with the named SEN person in college) to build this into ‘preparing for adulthood’ reviews.

Preparing for adulthood: ‘Key topics to cover at Annual Reviews from year 9 onwards