With the deadline for amending EHC plans for young people transferring from secondary school to post-16 institution fast approaching, we’ve been thinking about the challenges of the transitioning into adulthood process.

The SEND reforms brought significant changes for young people aged 16 and over, so it isn’t a surprise that this remains an area of development for education, health and social care services. We continue to see EHCP templates and professional assessment reports that do not sufficiently focus on preparing for adulthood and many Joint Local Area inspections have found weaknesses in the transition from children to adult services. However, there is much work going on around the country to continue to improve the transition process for young people with SEND.

Last week we attended Leicester City’s Local Offer Live event, which showcased SEND related services available in the area, and took the opportunity to find out more about some of the challenges and developments for post-16 support. We spoke to a representative for Leicester City’s consultation on a ‘Joint Health, Social Care and Education Transitions Strategy’, who explained that, in response to their Ofsted/CQC Local Area inspection, Leicester has developed a strategy “to help ensure that the staff working to support young people as they transition into adulthood are clear about the work which needs to be done to make sure young people have a good experience as they leave children’s services and become adults [and to provide] information for young people, their parents/carers and any other people supporting young people (e.g. school staff) to understand what is being done in Leicester City to support young people as they transition into adulthood.” (Joint Health, Social Care and Education Transitions Strategy, October 2018).

News this week also highlighted the work that Suffolk County Council have been doing on improving the journey into adulthood for young people with SEND, also in response to their Ofsted/CQC Local Area inspection findings. Their recently published ‘16+ Transitions Guide’ aims to guide parents/carers through the various aspects of planning for adulthood, including transition reviews, possible educational routes for young people aged 16+ and 18+, preparing for work and transitioning to adult health and social care services.

We’re also currently working hard to support our Local Authority customers with amending their post-16 EHC plans, to ensure that statutory timescales are met and to allow their SEND teams to focus on supporting young people and their families through the transition process – you can find out more about our range of EHCP support services here.