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Preparing for Adulthood

Preparing for adulthood

For young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), planning for adulthood begins in Year 9 (the school year in which a child has their 14th birthday), and in some cases will continue until their 25th birthday.  We often call this phase in life 'transition' or a 'transition to adulthood'.

This phase of “preparing for adulthood” is when professionals will consult with you and your son or daughter to consider if they may need specialist support during transition and into adulthood. 

Parents have asked for a comprehensive guide to transitions and we have worked with Family Voice to produce the Transition to Adulthood - A Parents Guide, which you can find on this page.

Frequently asked questions about transitions

These frequently asked questions have been written to help parents prepare and plan for the move to adult services at 18 years.

City College Peterborough Day Opportunities

Day Opportunities is Peterborough’s largest local day support specialist provider and experienced social care provider, supporting young people and adults with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs to live the fullest life possible.  Their centre for Complex Needs and four hubs are located throughout Peterborough. They offer skills development, supporting work opportunities and maintain health and wellbeing. Being part of City College, they have access to skills funding for the people they support and parent/carers.

See more details on their Local Offer page on our website.

Education Health and Care Plan

Education Health and Care Plan image

If a young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) known previously as a statement of educational needs, they are likely to need extra support in education which will be discussed and reviewed during their transition. The EHC Plan can be maintained until the young person concludes their education or is 25 years old, whichever comes sooner.

Finding somewhere to live

Young woman eating her lunch at the table

You may decide that you would like to continue to live with your family, and your family can support this, or you may decide you would like the chance to try and live independently.

This is not as easy as just finding somewhere to live, there are many things for you and your family to consider.  If you think that you will need support with living
independently, you can ask for a social care assessment by telephoning 01733 747474 and asking for Adult Social Care.

Independent/supported living

Supported living is a term used to describe the range of services that enable people with additional needs to live as independently as possible in their local community. While supported living is often for people with learning difficulties, it can also help people with mental health problems or physical disabilities.

Supported Living can be provided in either purpose-built or small-scale ordinary housing situations.

You may have already experienced living away from the family home, possibly to attend a residential school or as part of a residential respite short break or taking part in a programme run at your school, college or day service.  But for many people this will be a new experience, along with the expectation that you will have to be much more involved in doing the sort of things that go hand in hand with living independently, such as:

  • Keeping your home clean and tidy
  • Making a shopping list and then doing the shopping
  • Planning your day
  • Any help you require around personal hygiene
  • Safety awareness
  • Social housing

If you want to rent social housing you must register on the Peterborough Homes Choice Based Lettings Scheme first.  If your application is accepted you will be put into a band with people who have similar needs to you and you will be told what type of housing you are eligible to apply for. 

You will only be able to bid on properties that you are interested in and eligible for.

Adjustments to the home

Once you have had a chance to think about what housing type you prefer, you may need to consider whether the property would need to be changed (adapted) to make it easier for you to live in, if you have a physical disability. 

If you do not own the property, permission will  be required from the property owner before any work is approved and undertaken.

A Disabled Facilities Grant may be available to pay for any big changes. You will need to have an Occupational Therapy assessment first to find out what you need.   All Disabled Facility Grants are managed by the Care and Repair Home Improvement Agency who will assist you through the application process

Finding a job

Blind woman using a text phone

We want to support people with disabilities to find work and to lead independent lives

You can find out more information on the Peterborough City College Day Opportunities page.

City College Peterborough

City College Peterborough Day Opportunities Service provides a range of supported employment services and enterprises run in partnership with adults with disabilities.

The College Employment Team provides support to gain sustainable work and volunteer placements through their team of experienced advisers, job coaches and support staff.  They help people with learning and physical disabilities, sensory impairment, mental health conditions, autism and long term health conditions.  The pdf below 'Employment Hub' provides more information.

Employment Hub

City College Peterborough’s Digital CV Team provides a unique way for individuals to showcase the skills they possess to potential employers and for voluntary placements. Through the collation of audio and pictures, along with key information about their background, individuals see and discover their skill set through the production of a tailor made Digital Video CV.

A bespoke written CV is also provided, with an embedded hyperlink going straight to their video. They support individuals with any barrier to employment, including learning and physical disabilities, mental health, impairments and anxiety/confidence issues.  For more information please contact:

Andy Jones 01733 797717

Talentino - Career Coaching

Talentino offer free mentoring to young people with special needs under the age of 25 years old. It’s a mentoring program of 6 1hr sessions covering things like what is a job, why it is good to have a job and similar topics. The mentoring groups can be in schools, groups, communities, churches and similar, it just needs to be a group of up to 10 people that have special needs and are aged under 25 years old.

This mentoring program is fully funded so there is no charge to the venue or attendees,

Talentino have a group of mentors DBS checked and trained ready to go, but nowhere to go to. So if you are or know of any groups that would benefit please email Hazell Cottrell 

Telephone 0800 298 0178

Mencap - 'The Right Place' - work placements for SEND learners

A key part of the journey to employment is to provide valuable learning opportunities for young people with a learning disability whilst they are in education. Mencap have been funded by the Department of Education to broker work experience placements for schools and colleges working with learners with SEND.

They engage with employers who are willing to provide short and long term unpaid work placements for learners with SEND.

They believe that getting real workplace experience whilst still in education, can make a big difference to the ambitions, confidence and skills of young people with a learning disability and their future job prospects.

You can find more detailed information on their website

They also produce 2 very useful documents which you can view by clicking on the links below.  

Work placements for young people with a learning disability

Good for business - The benefits of employing people with a learning disability

The contact for Peterborough is:

Georgette Louis - Employer Engagement Officer, East of England

Mobile:- 07970 378678

Routes Into Work Guide

This guide provides information about options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment.

This guide covers the following topics:

  • What is this guide about?
  • What things mean in this document...
  • Study programmes
  • Supported internships
  • Traineeships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Work

The guide is also available as a download in the column on the left under the heading 'Useful documents'


A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months.

You can apply if you’re:

  • eligible to work in England
  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3

You can find out more information on and on the National Careers Service website.

Supported Internships

Young man with disabilities with social care professional

Supported Internships can help disabled young people to get a job.  They are a type of Study Programme.  What makes them different is that most of the learning is done at work and some in college.  This means young people can 'learn on the job'. 

You can find lots of useful information on the Preparing for Aduthood website.

City College Peterborough (CCP) and Peterborough Regional College have set up a Supported Internship programme to help young people with additional needs get into work.  This programme gives 16-24 year olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan the opportunity to complete long-term work experience whilst accessing any relevant courses at college. A Job coach will be assigned and support the student and employer throughout their placement.

Both colleges currently work with a number business around Peterborough, although they are always looking for new partnerships with local businesses. They recognise that there are many benefits to hosting a Supported Internship, including access to specialist job-matching services, Disability Awareness training, improving image and external reputations and many others.  If you would like further information, please contact:

City College Peterborough

Peterborough Regional College


Two people looking at a document

Apprenticeships are where you work and learn at the same time.

As an apprentice you will work with experienced staff.  You will learn new skills.  You will earn money.  You will get time to study

Into Apprenticeships  - A Guide For Disabled People

Produced by Disability Rights UK 'Into Apprenticeships' is a guide for disabled people, parents and key advisers about applying for apprenticeships in England. It deals with common questions such as how to find an apprenticeship, whether the training will be accessible and what support is available in the workplace.

How do Apprenticeships support young people with SEN?

Special Needs Jungle is a parent-led information, resources and informed opinion website for children and young people aged 0 to 25.  This page has specific information about how apprenticeships support young people with SEN

Transition Planning

Young woman in a wheelchair

Accessing transition support

Young people with a disability aged 14 to 25 and their families can be referred to
Childrens' or Adults Social Care for an assessment of their needs as part of planning their transitions pathway, if they are not already known to the service through social care support as a child.

Eligibility for adult care

The Care Act (2014) recognises that for some young people a timely referral to adult social care for an assessment of needs may be required. The law says that this must happen if it would be of “significant benefit’ to the young person. 


Generally, in order to determine eligibility for a service from adult social care, information would be gathered about the young person from the age of 14.  Where appropriate, if the child is looked after, has complex needs, lives out of area or has a risk of homelessness, transition assessment will be completd at 16 to ensure care and support are available at 18.  (Adult Social Care assessments won't normally be completed until the young person is almost 18 years old).

The Care Act (2014) says that a young person should continue to receive childrens services even after they are 18, until adult social care assessments are completed and care and support plans, if identified, are in place.

The assessment will be undertaken by the social work team if the young person has learning, sensory impairment and/or physical disabilities, including Special Educational Needs (SEN) Or Education Health and Care Plan.

If young people have a dual diagnosis including mental health needs, the social work team will work closely with health to determine which pathway the young person will follow.

For further information, please contact the council on 01733 747474.

What young people and their families in transition can expect

Every young person with a disability and their parents and carers will be offered information and advice about the range of universal support services available in the local area. This will also include guidance on accessing community and voluntary sector support services.

If a young person with disabilities, young carer or an adult caring for a child (a “child’s carer”) is likely to have needs when they, or the child they care for, turns 18, the local authority must assess them if it considers there is “significant benefit” to the individual in doing so.

In order to determine eligibility for a service from adult social care information about the young person may be gathered from about the age of 14, and where appropriate, an assessment of the young person's needs before the age of 18 can be undertaken in line with adult social care eligibility for care and support.

If a young person is eligible for care and support, further work is undertaken to identify their care needs and develop a person-centred transitions pathway with input from all agencies and family carers. This will determine the best way to meet their care outcomes and achieve their aims and ambitions for living an active and independent life.

Looking after your health

Young woman lifting weights at the gym

Moving to adult health services

When young people transition to adult health services the aim is to ensure that any assessment of need is completed as early as possible and enable a seamless move to appropriate universal and specialist healthcare. Importantly, this includes identifying services that may no longer be available once someone reaches 18 and putting in place alternative healthcare support for young people, and their families, to achieve identified outcomes. 

Customers who receive priority within health service transitions include:

  • young people in receipt of children’s continuing care funding that move to adult continuing healthcare services and funding;
  • young people accessing child and adolescent mental health services moving to adult mental health services; and
  • young people with an Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plan that identifies other health service in order to meet assessed needs and outcomes.

Transition to adult services with continuing healthcare needs

A key aim with transition is to ensure that a consistent package of support is provided during the years before and after the move to adulthood.

The nature of the package may change because the young person’s needs or circumstances change. It should not change simply because of a move from children’s to adult services or a move between organisations with commissioning or funding responsibilities.

Where change is necessary, it should be carried out in a phased manner in full consultation with the young person. No services or funding should be withdrawn unless a full assessment has been carried out in respect of both need for adult health and social care services.

What young people should expect

When a young person in receipt of children’s continuing care reaches the age of 14, the case will be reviewed by a social worker. This ensures that any young person who may require ongoing services in adulthood and who may be deemed eligible for continuing healthcare is identified early and included in the transitions pathway.

When the young person reaches 17 a checklist is completed by a health or social care professional, helped by the use of a screening method called a Checklist Tool. The assessment is done with the young person and their family or carer where appropriate.

Other health services identified in Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans

There may be other health services that are included within a young person’s Education, Health and Care Plan in order to meet an assessed need. For young people aged 16 years and over (as part of the ongoing review and assessment process to identify health needs) any ongoing health needs will be assessed and work done in partnership with adult health services to identify suitable service to transition to, if available.

Learning Disabilities Annual Health Checks

The Annual Health Check scheme is for adults and young people aged 14 or above with learning disabilities who need more health support and who may otherwise have health conditions that go undetected.

Who will get an Annual Health Check?

People aged 14 and over who have been assessed as having moderate, severe or profound learning disabilities, or people with a mild learning disability who have other complex health needs, are entitled to a free annual health check.  More information about Health Checks can be found on NHS Choices.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. CAMHS are the NHS services that assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.

CAMHS support covers depression, problems with food, self-harm, abuse, violence or anger, bipolar, schizophrenia and anxiety, to name a few.

There are local NHS CAMHS services around the UK, with teams made up of nurses, therapists, pyschologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals.  In Peterborough this service is provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

You can find lots more information on the Young Minds website.

Easyhealth website

There are over 500 easy read leaflets on the Easyhealth website providing a fantastic resource for anyone looking to access clear, practical and easy to understand health information.

Staying safe in the community

Young woman working in a shop

Ensuring young people with a disability remain safe

The government defines safeguarding as:

“The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstance consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.”

The 0 to 25 Disability Service works closely with Children's Safeguarding to ensure that young people under the age of 18 remain safe, and for those over 18 the service works within the safeguarding processes under adult legislation. 

Staying safe and supported in the community

For many of us, it can be a real problem if we do not feel safe and comfortable when we are trying to do something.  This is the same when we are trying to get out into the community, we need to feel safe and supported, and this could include simple things like:

  • Plan where you would like go and how you are going to get there
  • Take a mobile phone if you have one, and the phone number of someone you trust
  • Take some money in case you need to make a phone call from a public phone
  • Take only the money you expect to need, keep some in your wallet or purse and some in your pocket
  • If you have one, take a personal attack alarm
  • Are your personal belongings, like your phone, wallet or purse kept in a safe place on you, like your bag or pocket?
  • If possible, have you told someone you trust where you are going and when you expect to be back?
  • If you can, go out with a friend or someone you know

Social Media

Computers, mobile phones and tablets are a great way to keep in touch with your friends, finding and making new friends and to share things at the touch of a button. You can also use them to find information and to help with homework.  But they can also make it easier for bullies and other people who might want to hurt you to get close to you.  So it is really important that you know how to stay safe on your computer, phone and websites.

The ChildLine and NSPCC websites both have lots of really useful information to help protect yourself from cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate content and protect your online reputation.  There is also an easy read guide to Staying Safe on Social Media and Online from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

YouTube Kids

A world of learning and fun, made just for kids

You Tube Kids has been created to make it safer and simpler for children to explore the world through online video – from their favourite shows and music to learning how to build a model volcano (or make slime), and everything in between. There's also a whole suite of parental controls, so you can tailor the experience to your family's needs.


Kiddle is a Safe visual search engine for kids

Safe Place Scheme

The scheme aims to attract Peterborough businesses to agree to place a Safe Place sticker in their window. This identifies it as a place where an adult with a learning disability can, in the case of an emergency, receive help to make a call to the police, other emergency service or to a parent, carer or support worker in their moment of crisis.

The Safe Place Scheme aims to stop the bullying and abuse of adults with learning disabilities across Peterborough.

This scheme is run jointly with the Safer Peterborough Partnership to ensure people with a learning disability remain safe in Peterborough. People with a learning disability have the right to feel safe when out and about in their community. It is a collective responsibility of the community to support vulnerable people.  For people with a learning disability this can be achieved by identifying business premises as a ‘Safe Place’.

In Peterborough over 60 businesses from Bretton Centre, Rivergate and City Centre have signed up to provide a Safe Place to vulnerable people in the city of Peterborough.

A shopkeeper/business was identified through the Peterborough City Council Officer and/or PCSO (Police Community Support Officers) and if they are happy to help, are given a safe place sticker to put into their shop window. An individual with a learning disability / vulnerable person will carry a card displaying their name and personal contact telephone number in order that the manager or member of staff in the shop/business knows whom to contact.

Adults with a learning disabilities (aged 18 to 65 years) who wish to become members of the scheme will need to fill in the application form.

A personalised 'I need help' card is sent out which identifies the person the scheme member would like contacting in an emergency and lists a contact telephone number. They will also be sent a list of all participating businesses in the scheme and a 'Keeping Yourself Safe' leaflet.

The scheme aims to attract Peterborough businesses to agree to place a Safe Place sticker in their window. This identifies it as a place where an adult with a learning disability can, in the case of an emergency, receive help to make a call to the police, other emergency service or to a parent, carer or support worker in their moment of crisis.

By agreeing to be part of this free scheme businesses will be providing reassurance to both users of this service and their carers/friends/loved ones, enabling individuals to be more independent within Peterborough.

All participating retail outlets will be given an information sheet with guidance on how to assist an individual if in distress.

Participating businesses are not expected to have to make many calls, but to provide a temporary safe haven for this very vulnerable group within our community until help and support arrives in the form of the Carer, Police or Support Worker.

To register to be a member of this scheme, either as a business or a person with a learning disability, please contact 01733 452511.  A short film can be viewed here.

Making Decisions and Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It is a law that applies to people aged 16 and over.

Examples of people who may lack capacity include those with: 

  • dementia
  • a learning disability
  • a brain injury
  • a mental health condition
  • a stroke
  • unconsciousness caused by an anaesthetic or sudden accident

However, just because a person has one of these conditions does not necessarily mean they lack the capacity to make a specific decision. 

Someone can lack capacity to make some decisions (for example, to decide on complex financial issues) but still have the capacity to make other decisions (for example, to decide what items to buy at the local shop).

The MCA says:

  • Everyone has the right to make his or her own decisions. Health and care professionals should always assume someone has the capacity to make a decision themselves, unless it is proved otherwise through a capacity assessment.
  • People must be given help to make a decision themselves. This might include, for example, providing the person with information in a format that is easier for them to understand.
  • Just because someone makes what those caring for them consider to be an "unwise" decision, they should not be treated as lacking the capacity to make that decision. Everyone has the right to make their own life choices, where they have the capacity to do so.
  • Where someone is judged not to have the capacity to make a specific decision (following a capacity assessment), that decision can be taken for them, but it must be in their best interests.
  • Treatment and care provided to someone who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms possible, while still providing the required treatment and care.

The MCA also allows people to express their preferences for care and treatment in case they lack capacity to make these decisions. It also allows them to appoint a trusted person to make a decision on their behalf should they lack capacity in the future.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards aim to protect people in care homes, hospitals and supported living from being inappropriately deprived of their liberty.

More information on DoLS is available on our Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page 

Who can help with transitions?

There are a wide range of professionals who can help with transitions.  These include:

  • Your family/carer
  • Your friends
  • Your teachers and staff at school or college
  • The Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Officers (SAMS) at the council
  • Social care professionals
  • Health professionals
  • Advocates

You can find out about the different people who can help you on the brochure on the left of this page.

5 Tips if you are looking to go to University

These tips have been sourced from a blog by HHannah Louise.  The Blog is on the Council for Disabled Children website. 

"Hi, my name is Hannah Louise! I am 18 years old and have just completed (very successfully) my A-levels. In September I started my university course; I am studying to become a primary school teacher in Sheffield and loving it!"

My top five tips for people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) when starting uni!

1.) When applying to university make sure you go as many open days as you need! It will help you to understand course in more depth and can allow you to evaluate if you believe that this is the course for you. More information prevents anxiety.

2.) Make sure that you apply for Disabled student support. It is really helpful and allows for all reasonable adjustments to be considered and may be accepted. It has helped me mounds and mounds. It is one of the most important of my tips.

3.) Make sure that the university is accessible for you and that you will be able to travel around the university, visit as much as you can and try to find the less busy routes to places where you need to go, this allows you to travel quicker without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed.

4.) Make sure if you’re travelling:

  • You do travel training to make sure that you know when the quieter trains are and how to get to and from uni.
  • You apply for a disabled students railcard or bus pass to save your money and thus are able to fund other needs.
  • Have strategies in place when things don’t go to plan to avoid stress and anxiety.

5.) Have fun, work hard and be better than you could ever think. Remember to put effort in and also have fun, try to socialise as much as you can and prove people you are better than they ever imagined. Why prove you’re the same when you can improve and be a better person?

Your disability does not define you, there is ability on disabled people we just need a little support. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF AMAZING THINGS. Keep on going and you will do great!

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