On this page you will find information and practical advice about moving from your childhood into your adulthood (known as 'Preparing for adulthood') and planning for your future.

We hope that you find this page helpful. If you have any questions,  you can contact us and we will try to answer them for you.

Preparing for Adulthood (pfa)

From year 9 (age 14), you will be asked to start thinking about preparing to become an adult. If you have an EHCP this should be talked about in the review meetings.

As an adult you become more independent. This means having more control over your life and making decisions about it. It is important that you feel ready for this and get any support or help that you need.

Preparing for adulthood is divided into 4 main areas, below you will find some advice about how to prepare for each.


Higher education or employment

This means looking at different job and training options and helping you to be ready to work.                      

Your education and/or EHCP will become your responsibility when you turn 16, but you can still ask a parent/ carer or someone you trust to help or advocate for you if you prefer.                     

You can leave school at the end of the school year in which you turn 16, but you must continue in education or training up to age 18. After school you could choose to:                      

  • Stay in full-time education
  • Such as going to college or sixth form.                      

  • Start a traineeship
  • These are education and training programmes with work experience for young people aged 16 to 24. They help you to get ready for work and can be a stepping stone to an apprenticeship. Traineeships are unpaid and usually last for 6 months. Find out more on the Gov.uk website.

  • Start an apprenticeship
  • These are paid jobs that include training and lead to qualifications. Find out more on the Gov.uk                      

  • Start a supported internship (if you have an EHCP)
  • These help you to get paid employment by teaching you the skills that you need for work. Internship placements are unpaid and usually last for 6 months. You can watch a video about supported internships, made by Leeds City Council here.                      

  • Study part-time
  • You could choose to spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering alongside some part-time education or training.

You should be given careers advice at school from the age of 12, to help you decide what you want to do when you leave school and for a job as an adult. Your school or setting can give you this advice in different ways to suit your needs. We would advise you to speak to them if you need more help.                      

You can contact us for a copy of our supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeship guide.                      

You can also find more information on the Start in Leeds website.                      

You can find out what different qualification levels mean on the Gov.uk website.                      

After you leave school at 16, any free home to school travel will stop. If you will need support to get to college or sixth form then there are some schemes and funds that you can apply for. For more information on this you can look at the Leeds Local offer.                      

You can find out more about employment on the preparing for adulthood website.                      

What can i do?

To help you plan, prepare and make decisions, you could think about:                      

  • What you would like to study when you leave school?
  • What type of study or training programme do you think you would like to do?
  • Is there a job you think you would like to do?
  • What help or support do you think you might need to do this?
  • Is there someone at your school, college or setting you can talk to, to get more information and help you make your choices?

Independent living

This means looking at your living arrangement options and any support that you need to be able to look after yourself. This includes skills such as cooking, housekeeping, travelling and handling money.                      

Young people move (transition) from child services to adult services at age 18, but some transitions can start at 17.                      

If you have a social worker they will talk to you about this and help to make a plan for the move. It might be helpful to ask your social worker to come to your EHCP annual reviews if you have an EHC plan.                      

You should be offered a transitions assessment if you are likely to have some social care needs when you turn 18. This is to get the right care and support plan in place for you. If you do not already have support from social care, you can still contact them about this. You can find more information on their website or call 0113 222 4401                      

Some options for living arrangements are:                      

  • Living at home with your family
  • You could choose to live at home with your family and have a support worker to help you to be independent.                      

  • Supported living
  • You could choose to live in your own flat, or shared house within a supported living community, where there are staff on hand to help you if you need it.                      

  • Buy or rent your own home
  • You could choose to live alone and then have a support worker help you when you need it. You could also apply for home adaptions (changes)to help you to be independent, such as access ramps, bath rails or other special equipment.                      

You can find out more about living independently on the preparing for adulthood website.                      

If you have any questions about money or benefits you can visit the Contact website.                      

What can i do?

To help you plan, prepare and make decisions, you could think about:                      

  • Where you think you would want to live?
  • Who do you want to live with?
  • Do you think you need any help to be able to live by yourself?
  • Is there anything you think you need to learn to be able to live by yourself?

Participating in society

This means having friends, staying in touch with people and being included in your community where you live. This can include socialising and volunteering.                     

You could look at the Leeds local offer website to see what clubs, groups and activities are running in the area where you live. You can also find out about short breaks.                      

If you have any questions about money or benefits you can visit the Contact website.                      

You can find out more about friends, relationships and community on the preparing for adulthood website.                      

You might also find the following websites helpful:                      

What can i do?

To help you plan, prepare and make decisions, you could think about:                      

  • If you would like to join any clubs or activities to try something new and to help you to make some new friends?
  • If there are any clubs or activities you want to do to help you learn new skills (such as cooking classes, gardening and money skills)?
  • If you want to join a club, group or activity, how would you get there?
  • Do any of the activities cost money? How will this be paid for? You might be able to ask for a personal budget or direct payments.

Maintaining good health

This means knowing how to be healthy as an adult and how to look after yourself properly.                      

Young people usually move (transition) from child health teams to adult health teams at age 18, but some transitions can start at 16.                      

Any health services that you work with should talk to you about this and help you to plan for the move. It might be helpful to ask the health professionals that work with you to come to your EHCP annual reviews if you have an EHC plan.                      

You can find out more about having good health on the preparing for adulthood website.                      

CAMHS have a transition team to support young people that they are working with. You can find more information on their website.                      

Did you know that you can have an annual health check at your doctors if you are aged 14 or over? This would give you a chance to get used to visiting the doctors, or ask any questions you have about your health. The doctor will offer you a physical check and will talk to you about your emotions, well-being, lifestyle and diet. They will also talk to you about any medications that you take and check that any health conditions you have are well managed.                      

You do not have to feel ill or unwell to have an annual health check. You can find out more about this on the NHS website. Mencap have also made a helpful video about what happens during an annual check.                     

If you find you can not go to the dentist because of a disability or medical condition, you could ask to be referred to the specialist dental service. This service is usually provided in the community and can include hospitals, specialist health centres, mobile clinics and home visits. You can find out more information about this on the NHS website.                     

If you are over the age of 18 and think that you may have autism, but do not have a diagnosis, you can contact The Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service (LADS). This service provides assessment and diagnosis of people of all intellectual ability, who may have autism and live in Leeds, by a team of mental health and learning disability professionals with specialist knowledge of autism.                      

What can i do?

To help you plan, prepare and make decisions, you could think about:

  • Speaking to your GP or health worker about any transitions you might have coming up
  • Making a list of any questions or worries that you have
  • If you have specific medical requirements, such as allergies or fears, make a note of it and take it to any appointments.
  • Do you need any help to manage your health?, such as with reminders about appointments or taking medicines.
  • Do you want to learn more about anything to help you to manage your health and be more involved in your treatment and care.
  • Do you know who to contact about your health in an emergency?


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