Skip to main content

Supporting successful preparation for adulthood

With high aspirations, and the right support, the vast majority of children and young people can go on to achieve successful long-term outcomes in adult life. Local authorities, education providers and their partners should work together to help children and young people to realise their ambitions in relation to:

  • higher education and/or employment – including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
  • independent living – enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and the support they receive, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
  • participating in society – including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • being as healthy as possible in adult life

Planning good transitions

All professionals working with families should look to enable children and young people to make choices for themselves from an early age and support them in making friends and staying safe and healthy.

SEN support should include planning and preparing for transition, before a child moves into another setting or school. This can also include a review of the SEN support being provided or the EHC plan. To support the transition, information should be shared by the current setting with the receiving setting or school. The current setting should agree with parents the information to be shared as part of this planning process. Schools should agree with parents and pupils the information to be shared as part of this planning process. Where a pupil is remaining at the school for post-16 provision, this planning and preparation should include consideration of how to provide a high quality study programme.

As children grow older, and from Year 9 in school at the latest, preparing for adult life should be an explicit element of conversations with children and their families as the young person moves into and through post-16 education. For children and young people in or beyond Year 9 with EHC plans, local authorities have a legal duty to include provision to assist in preparing for adulthood in the EHC plan review.

More information

For further information about Special Educational Needs, including Education Health and Care plans, visit the Local Offer website.

Alternatively, if you need independent support and advice around Special Educational Need visit the Plymouth Information Advice and Support website.

There are a number of pathways into training and employment for young people with special educational needs. Entry requirements to these pathways will normally take individual barriers to learning into account.

How you can support your child at school

  • Keep in touch with your child’s teachers and SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and communicate with them regularly. 
  • Find out about Parent Forums and Parent Voice
  • Keep an eye on your child’s progress and encourage them in all their subjects including English and Maths from year 8. If your child is working below target in English and Maths, ask the school for additional support and intervention.  They will have lots of ideas and suggestions.
  • Speak to the school if your child experiences any issues with his/her work.   Talk to your child every day about what they’re up to at school, what they’ve enjoyed and what challenges they’ve overcome and how.
  • Start thinking with your child about the subjects he/she enjoys most and how they feel they are progressing and can progress.
  • Find out when the qualification option choices will happen. It will be either year 8 or 9 depending on your school.  Find out what additional support is available in different subjects.
  • Find out what your child’s favourite courses will entail in year 9 (How much written work? What type of examination and qualification?) How can you support your child?
  • Talk about other skills your child is developing positively, like curiosity and creativity. Critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Learning from mistakes and trying again. Helping others and giving advice. 
  • Talk about the world of work with your child and help them to develop an understanding of the type of behaviours that employers will be looking for.
  • This is a vital time to discuss keeping safe online. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. A useful website to help your child start thinking about staying safe online is Internet matters

Maths and English

Maths and English are essential skills for helping young people achieve in their lives. These subjects help young people with all the other subjects they are learning. Maths and English build confidence and self-esteem, preparing young people for the world of work in the future. 

It is a government requirement that the majority of students will be working towards a Grade 4 or above in Maths and English.  For some young people with SEND, this requirement may not be appropriate. However, it is an expectation that young people continue to develop their maths and English skills as part of any pathway into employment, independence or supported living and working.

There are lots of ways to improve your Maths and English. You can speak to your son or daughters school for further advice.


If your child will be working towards GCSEs, it’s a good idea to understand what they’ll be working towards in a couple of years. 

Here’s a quick video to explain:

Mainstream education

For children with SEND in mainstream education, your child will continue to face big changes in Year 8 and will have started to become more familiar with the secondary school environment: finding their way around more confidently and being clearer on expectations and subjects. 

As a parent, your relationship with the school will be different, and you may feel less in touch. The school has an obligation to keep you up-to-date with your child’s education. Don’t hesitate to ask how the school intends to communicate with you, and remember, teachers welcome email contact.

In year 8, all children normally continue to be taught the same range of subjects. Generally, this involves Art, English, Dance, Drama, Humanities, ICT, Maths, Modern Languages, Music, Science, Sport and Technology. Some schools might offer you a choice of modern foreign languages and some will teach some subjects (such as food technology or textiles) in a rotation during the year.

Year 8 is the second year of Key Stage 3 (KS3), which is a period of transition between primary school (KS2), and the exam preparation years (KS4). Key Stage 3 lasts for three years: Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, when pupils are aged between 11 and 14. Towards the end of Key Stage 3, pupils chose the subjects that they will be studying in their GCSE examinations. Some of these subjects are compulsory, whilst others are optional.

Other schools

If you are considering a transition in Year 9 to Scott Medical and Healthcare College in Plymouth or the Atrium Studio School in Ashburton, start to find out about them. All parents will receive a letter from Plymouth City Council about other education options at different ages each summer. There may also be similar colleges in other Local Authorities that take students at Year 9. Find out more information on the Studio Schools website.