Young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) can be supported up until the age of 25 – well beyond compulsory school age – as long as they are in some form of education or training.
Annual reviews are an opportunity for the child or young person to discuss with their family, school or college, and the local authority (LA), what they would like to achieve as they grow up. The aim of this is for young people with SEN to be supported towards greater independence and employability.
From Year 9 onwards, the local authority has a duty to ensure that the annual review meeting “consider[s] what provision is required to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living”, (Regulation 20(6) and Regulation 21(6) of the SEN and Disability Regulations 2014).
As with all EHCP reviews, planning must be centred around the individual and explore the child or young person’s aspirations and abilities. It should look at 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.
Transition planning must be built into the revised EHCP and should result in clear outcomes being agreed that are ambitious and stretching and which will prepare young people for adulthood.
What is preparation for adulthood?
This depends completely on the individual. Paragraph 8.10 of the SEND Code of Practice has some useful examples:
- support to prepare for higher education and/or employment
- training options such as supported internships, apprenticeships and traineeships
- support in finding a job, and learning how to do a job (for example, through work experience opportunities or the use of job coaches)
- help in understanding any welfare benefits that might be available when in work
- preparation for independent living including where the child or young person wants to live in the future, who they want to live with and what support they will need
- considering local housing options including housing benefits and social care support available
- support in maintaining good health in adult life
- support in participating in society: this is a wide-reaching concept and includes such things as understanding how to get about (using transport and benefits options relating to this) and making and maintaining relationships.
Preparation for adulthood completely depends on the individual, some young people with EHCPs may be unlikely to ever live independently or to go into paid employment. This is not a reason to stop supporting them, as they are likely to still benefit from special educational provision to help them make the progress of which they are capable.
What to cover in a year 9 review:
Examples of key topics and questions to cover at the year 9 review would be:
- Has the young person received any careers information, advice and guidance in the last year?
- Does the young person have an up to date vocational profile or CV?
- Is there a summary of the vocational profile or a what’s important for this young person in work attached to the education, health and care plan?
- In the last year, have work tasters and /or work placements been offered in line with the interests and skills identified in the vocational profile? What was the outcome of these?
- Is the curriculum supporting the development of skills that the young person will need in the workplace?
- Has the young person been asked about where they want to live in future and with whom?
- Do the parent carers have a view on what should ideally happen and by what age? E.g. what are the parents or foster carers’ expectations for the young person post 18?
- Has the family been given information on how to get onto the housing register?
- Have the family and young person been signposted to support around housing?
- Is the young person learning skills at school and at home that will help with living independently at home?
- Does the plan reflect wishes around housing?
- Does the young person have a circle of friends inside and outside of school/college?
- Is it clear what is being done to support the young person’s friendships inside and outside of school/college?
- Have options for more community activities been explored and followed up?
- Are there any ways that the young person can contribute to their community and become better known? E.g. volunteering opportunities
- Is the young person registered with a local GP?
- If appropriate, is s/he on the all age learning disability register at the GP surgery?
- Are the family aware of the benefits of an annual health check from age 14?
- Is it clear what reasonable adjustments are likely to be needed to support the child’s mental or physical health? E.g. first or last appointments, easy read information provided, etc.
- If the young person will need adult health services, who will plan for the health transition with him/ her?
- Has the young person had a thorough eye check?
- Is s/he registered and attending appointments with a dentist?
- Is the young person likely to be eligible for continuing health care and continuing care arrangements? If so, are the family aware of local arrangements for assessing eligibility?
- Does the curriculum support young people to have a healthy lifestyle?
- Are the young person’s emotional and mental health needs being met? If so, by whom?
- Are the family/young person familiar with the local offer?
- Do the family/young person need additional support with accessing the local offer?
- Have the parent carers been given easy to understand information about the Mental Capacity Act 2005?
- Have parents been reminded about the need to assume that their son or daughter has capacity unless proven otherwise?
- Have the outcomes been updated in line with priorities identified?
- Are the outcomes SMART?
- Are there clear actions and deadlines?
Please note that this list is not exhaustive but does aim to take a holistic, overall view of the young person and cover all major aspects of life.
What if the young person is not in education or training?
Remember that anything which educates or trains a young person is capable of being special educational provision. Health care provision and social care provision which educates or trains a young person must be specified and quantified in section F of the EHCP.
If a young person has an EHCP and is aged under 18 but is not receiving education and training (for whatever reason), the local authority must review the plan “to ensure that the young person continues to receive education or training” (see SEN Reg 29). The LA must not cease an EHCP simply because a young person is aged 16 or over.
Young people with EHCPs may need longer in education or training to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adulthood. This is something else that the LA must take into consideration at annual reviews for young people aged 19 to 25 years.