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Preparing for adulthood strategy 2021-2025

In Leicester we aim to ensure all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities succeed in learning, achieve their goals and aspirations and transition successfully into adulthood. This strategy describes our overall approach to supporting young people and their families to plan and prepare for the young person’s journey to adulthood

Leicester City is committed to providing the best support and pathways into adulthood for our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It is important that we support children, young people and their families on this journey to transition into adulthood.

Adulthood is an important time in life when young people and their families face many changes and have choices to make. When thinking about the future and to achieve the best, it is important to start planning early. Talking to friends, family, school and professionals is important. These people can share key information and provide support by making the steps to achieving the goals clearer. It is important to have a voice and be heard, as this will enable the young person to live their life how they want.

This strategy is for young people, aged 14 -25 with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) who are moving into adulthood, sometimes referred to as transition. It is also for parent, carers and professionals supporting them and encouraging them to look at the various options and choices the young person can make that will transition them into adulthood. This strategy will work alongside the Joint Health, Social Care and Education transitions strategy and the SEND strategy.

It is important that young people start thinking about what they would like to achieve for the future. Consider what they are interested in, enjoy doing and are good at. Speaking to people to see how their goals can be achieved and what or who will help. It is important that they know the best way for them to communicate and look at all the options available.

The Disabled Children Service (DCS) delivers a participation forum called the Big Mouth Forum for children and young people with special educational needs and disability aged 11-25 years old. The principle aims of the service is to follow the commitments of Leicester City Council’s Social Care and Education Rights Based Approach to Participation. We are committed to ensuring all children and young people with SEND are supported to have a voice, ensure they are heard, have information in an accessible format to enable them to make an informed choice, succeed in learning and ensure they can achieve their goals and aspirations. Forum members have a varying level of support needs and DCS work meticulously to ensure all children and young people that want to be involved can take part and have a voice.

The forum gives young people the confidence to be involved in decisions and transition into adulthood successfully. Over the last few months, the forum has reviewed the plans of the Preparing for Adulthood Strategy. They feel very happy with the plans to develop a successful preparing for adulthood service for all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The forum have campaigned to improve support for young people with hidden and severe disabilities and they feel the strategy has thought about the needs of children from these groups. They welcome the commitment to recognise young people.

Preparing for adulthood is an exciting time for parents and carers and allows them to give freedom and support to their children transitioning into adulthood.

It can also be confusing and challenging at times as parents and carers are concerned about how their child will cope with adulthood.

Leicester City Parent Carer Forum is a group of parents who have children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) ranging from 0 to 25 years of age. The forum seeks to work with the Local Authorities (LA) to pass on the best information to parents, which will give confidence and help them support children to transition into adulthood. The strategy has been co-produced with extensive cooperation with parents from diverse backgrounds. Our young people, through the Big Mouth Forum, have also participated in giving their views. We work together to review, assess and commission new and old services that encourage all SEND children to transition into adulthood. We empower our SEND children through the Big Mouth Forum to participate in all discussions and planning.

The abilities of SEND young people in Leicester is very varied, and this strategy will seek to support and empower most if not all children to achieve their aspirations. The forum will actively help parents to be involved in the transition discussions from the beginning. Transition topics like transport will be on the forum agenda as we want our young adults to grow in confidence with the independent skills which they can use in employment or further training. The strategy process will also cater for children with severe disabilities to give them a chance to live fulfilling lives. We will seek to celebrate transitional achievements through the Local Offer and forum publications.

The Parent Carer Forum wishes SEND children and their families to have the most up to date and relevant information when they need it most in order to make informed decisions on their circumstances. The forum has a good working relationship with the transition and the Local Offer teams, which keeps both the LA and parents informed.

Leicester City Parent Carer Forum Chair

Richard Jaramba

The Preparing for Adulthood strategy has one purpose; to support young people with SEND to get the life they want. The aim is that each individual will be provided with support to:

  • Make choices
  • Learn
  • Take part in healthy living
  • Be part of their community
  • Translate their personal aspirations into positive outcomes
  • Thrive and reach their true potential

Leicester City Council asked children and young people with SEND and their families what they wanted, and they said:

We need more information about transition and preparing for adulthood. It’s not clear what things will happen to help my child prepare for adulthood when they are aged between 14 and 18.

Leicester City Council will work in partnership with providers in Education, Health and Social Care to make it a reality and ensure that all agencies have a shared commitment and understanding of preparing for adulthood. Leicester City Council will provide support and work collaboratively with all services and agencies to ensure that the right opportunities are available for children and young people with SEND. The Preparing for Adulthood strategy will provide the framework to ensure that young people achieve the best possible learning outcomes in order to successfully progress into adult life. They will be supported to do this through person centred planning, high quality local provision which has been planned and developed according to the young person’s aspirations and individual needs. Person centred planning is making a plan that focuses on an individual’s needs and that person’s vision of what their future looks like. We will be accountable to children, young people and their families through measures which demonstrate the degree to which this objective is met. The strategy will be underpinned by an action plan, which will be reviewed on an annual basis during the life of the strategy.

Parents, carers, schools, education support services, health and social care need to support children and young people with identifying their aspirations, planning for the future and supporting them to reach, their true potential.

To deliver against the strategy requires that all partners focus on the following outcomes:

  • Young people accessing employment opportunities into adulthood
  • Young people develop independence and learn independent living skills
  • Young people planning for good health
  • Young people have friends, develop relationships and engage with their community


To achieve these outcomes the following aims have been agreed, which guides our action planning and performance management and monitoring on the effectiveness of the Preparing for Adulthood work in Leicester.

  • Partnership working
    • To effectively work with transition partners in adult social care and health to understand needs, develop services and deploy joint resources. To provide young people with well-planned and supported transition to adulthood.
  • Education and Employment
    • For local schools and colleges to provide high quality study programmes which deliver effective outcomes for young people
    • Offer a broad range of pathways into employment for young people that is flexible and responsive to their needs.
  • Independence and Independent Living
    • Encourage young people to participate in opportunities that lead to personal development
    • Support young people in considering the housing options available to them, including support with living at home, supported living or independent living
  • Planning for good health
    • To provide support and education on good health and wellbeing
    • To work with the Clinical Commissioning group for the joint commissioning of services in the NHS
  • Friends, Relationships and Community Inclusion
    • Promote opportunities for community inclusion and building meaningful friendships into adulthood
    • Develop a breadth of provision which meets the needs of all young people within their local community

A key driver of this strategy is to ensure that the voice of children, young people and their families is heard and is central to the planning and delivery of services. The preparing for adulthood strategy is based around a system that is person centred and key to meeting the needs of the individual, ensuring that the services we provide support young people and results in better lives and outcomes.

The strapline ‘Involve – Listen – Respond’ was developed to recognise that this theme is threaded throughout SEND service provision in Leicester. It moves us forward from simply having mechanisms in place to enable involvement, to hearing and responding to the views and wishes of the child and young person.

The SEND Code of Practice SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years - GOV.UK (8.5 to 8.12) is clear in its vision that preparing for adulthood should start in early years and continue throughout primary and secondary school with a greater focus from year 9 onwards.

Children should have high aspirations about employment, independence, healthy living and community inclusion and be aware of what they can achieve. Young people should be preparing to make their own decisions and increasingly forming their own views as well as being actively involved in making decisions about their own future.

The services and information discussed in this strategy can be found on the local offer and can support children and young people into preparing for adulthood. This strategy links with the Leicester Transitions Strategy Social care and education that aims to have:

  • Integrated services in which people work together to help young people to get ready to become adults
  • Effective planning in which after a young person’s 14th birthday, they are supported in planning what will happen when they turn 18 years old
  • Informed choice meaning we want young people and families to know everything they need to know in order to make good decisions and know what is going to happen when a young person becomes an adult.

We will adopt a person-centred planning approach to achieve and implement these aims.

How can we achieve and implement these aims?

Career advice

By working with Connexions, schools and colleges to offer advice and guidance on finding a job, training course, apprenticeship and career advice.

Further education

By working with colleges and sixth forms to offer study programmes that meet the needs of the individual young person and prepare them for independence, healthy living, community inclusion, employment or higher education.

Higher education

By working with universities to make sure that courses are accessible, and that young people are clear on what they need to access a course at university to achieve their aspirations and chosen career.


By working with schools, colleges and traineeship providers to offer a skills development programme that includes a work experience placement that can last for 6 weeks up to 1 year.


By working with employers to offer apprenticeships at all levels that give on the job training, develop skills and knowledge and gain experience whilst getting paid.

Supported internships

By working in partnership with schools, colleges and employers to offer supported internships within local communities that lead to paid employment on a part-time or full-time basis.

Volunteering/work experience

By working with local volunteer groups or employers to give time to support and help others, whilst gaining valuable skills, knowledge work experience and making a difference to a community.

What would success look like?

  • More young people are employed and access quality study programmes suitable to meet their needs.
  • Young people have support from the right service to help them understand relationships at work and supporting them to seek employment, training or volunteering.

How will we know we have achieved our aims?

  • To make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for young people with SEND to go into employment and that reasonable adjustments are made when needed
  • To continue to work with schools and colleges to ensure that they are offering meaningful learning and
  • To support employers in understanding SEND and how the SEND workforce can enhance their workplace.
  • To regularly offer training and support to employers so that they can
  • confidently employ young people with SEND and are disability aware.

Independent travel

By accessing independent travel training from year 9 and working with parents to develop independent travel when appropriate to help build confidence , self-esteem and prepare for college or the world of work.

Independent living

By working in collaboration with parents, housing and social care to offer advice and guidance on applying for independent living accommodation, and developing independent living skills.

Continue to learn independent living skills in the family home by watching and helping family. Flat 108 can also help to learn these skills and prepare some young people for living in supported living, or independent living.

Supported living

By working in collaboration with parents and social care to offer advice and guidance on living in supported living accommodation and developing independent living skills.

Support with living at home

By working in collaboration with parents and social care to offer advice and guidance on living at home and developing independence where possible.

National Citizenship (NCS)/Duke of Edinburgh Award (DoE)

By volunteering for NCS or joining the D of E programme, a young person can develop their independence, team building skills, confidence, self-esteem, as well as leadership, social skills and vital employability skills ready for adulthood.

How will we know we have achieved our aims?

  • Ensuring that the independence checklist is completed at year 9 annual reviews in schools and updated every year.
  • Offering the right type of living for young people and ensuring that they feel safe and secure.
  • Young people living in suitable accommodation to meet their needs, whether at home or independently.
  • Social care being aware of who needs their services from the checklist and getting in contact with the right service.

What would success look like?

  • Young people have started the conversation from age 14 onwards and received information and support to help them choose where they want to live and learn independent living skills to be able to live where they want.

Leisure activities

By accessing the local amenities with support or independently and engaging with charities and youth organisations that support young people in the community.

Staying Safe

By working with colleges and charities to keep young people safe on social media and alerting them to the Keep safe place scheme Leicester, which alerts young people to safe places and buildings in the city when they are feeling upset or scared and need to call for help.

Big Mouth Forum (BMF)

By supporting the BMF to have a voice and be involved in decision making with services and strategies in Leicester City and also take part in interview process for key jobs in the local authority.

Accessibility into the community

By promoting opportunities for young people to get involved in groups, forums and participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, National Citizenship and other national awards.

Local Offer

By making the Local Offer on the website a one stop shop, containing current and up to date information about support and services available locally for SEND young people, their families and people working with them.

Transition into adult services, for those who need it

By working collaboratively with health and social care to develop a smooth pathway from children to adult services and to implement the Joint Health, Social Care and Education Transitions strategy.

What would success look like?

Young people can meet friends in their communities and take part in activities together.

How will we know we have achieved our aims?

  • To support and facilitate communities so that young people with SEND feel safe, are included and take part in the community
  • To ensure that young people with SEND are encouraged to make their own decisions, are listened to and get the support they need.
  • For young people with SEND to be at the heart of the community, have a voice in the community and feel safe and secure.

Healthy eating

By working with parents and schools to develop a good understanding of healthy eating and thinking about what a young person is eating and drinking, as well as developing skills to prepare meals and cooking.


By ensuring that young people have access to outdoor spaces to exercise and take part in physical actives in and outside of the home. Promoting physical activity as part of a daily routine to promote a healthy heart and good mental health.

Health checks and accessing the NHS/GP

By working with health, parents and young people to access their GP when needed and for those who need it to transition smoothly from children’s to adult services. By being on the learning disability register at your GP’s surgery from the age of 14 and having access to annual health checks.

Health care reviews/NHS hospital appointments

By working with young people, parents and health to understand the importance of health checks, attending hospital appointments and taking prescribed medication. By clearly identifying who needs an NHS continuing health care plan, having a transition plan if needed, to access health services. Advocates can support young people who need additional support with accessing these services.

Dental/optical appointments

By supporting young people to access dentists and to understand the importance of attending 6 monthly check ups, as well as having an eye test every 2 years to check vision and eye health.

Good mental health

By working with schools, colleges, parents and health to offer a range of services for young people to promote good mental health and wellbeing. As well as working with health to develop a smooth pathway when transitioning from children’s services to adult services, for those who need it.

What would success look like?

Young people feel more confident to manage their health and make healthier lifestyle choices.

How will we know we have achieved our aims?

  • Working closely with the NHS to ensure that services transition children and young people into adult service when needed.
  • Increase in young adults with SEND accessing NHS health services.
  • Continuing to understand the need of young people and assessing services to make sure that their needs are met.
  • Reviewing services regularly to make sure that they can meet the needs of young people.

Additionally, we want to promote partnership working and listening and signposting to appropriate services.

What would success look like?

  • Services have worked together to ensure that young people have been informed and supported to make choices to support their transition to adult life
  • For those who need it, transitioning smoothly from children’s services in health and social care into adult services.
  • early years settings start preparing children to develop skills and starting conversations with parents and carers about what adulthood will look like for their children.

Listening and signposting

We will know if we have achieved our aims as we will:

  • have a Local Offer that is the first place that young people go to, to find local information and services.
  • continue to update the Local Offer so that it reflects the services available to parents, carers and young people with SEND.
  • continue to listen to the voices of young people to inform how we develop strategies and
  • expand the Big Mouth Forum and develop other ways of young people sharing their thoughts, views and opinions to continue co-production.

Key Legislation and statutory guidance that supports our strategy

There are four key principles in this law.

  • Consider the views, wishes and feelings of the child, young person and their parents
  • Involve the child, young person and parents in decisions that affect them
  • Give them the information and support to help them be involved in the decision making
  • Support them to achieve the best possible outcomes
The law explains the support systems in place to help the above to be achieved.

The Care Act 2014 is a law which is for people aged over 18 that need care and support. The Care Act helps to improve people’s independence and wellbeing. It talks about services working together to provide support to prevent problems getting worse. People should be able to access information and guidance. Assessment and support should be person centred with an option for personal budgets or direct payments.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is a law that protects vulnerable people over the age of 16 around decision making. It explains that every adult no matter what their disability has the right to make their own decisions. This can be done with support by sharing information in a way they can understand or explaining things differently. If the information is too complicated after being adapted, then people helping them can make a best interest’s decision.

5 things to remember are:

  • Always assume the person can make a decision, unless you have proof to show otherwise
  • Try everything possible to support the person to make their decision
  • Do not assume the person cannot make a decision because they choose something unwise or different to you
  • If you make a decision on behalf of a person, it must always be in their best interests
  • Any decisions treatment or care for a person who lacks capacity must follow a path which is least restrictive on their freedom and rights.

It is important to remember that a person may have capacity for some decisions and not other and also their capacity to make decisions could change over time.

Chapter 8 of the SEND Code of Practice covers Preparing for Adulthood from the earliest of years. It is relevant to children, young people and professionals who work with people aged 14 and over. It sets out how everyone should be supporting children and young people. Early years providers and schools should support children and young people so that they are included in social groups and develop friendships settings, through to post 16 education to prepare for employment, education, healthy living, community inclusion and independence. The Code of Practice states that high aspiration are crucial to success - discussions about longer term goals should start early and ideally well before year 9 (age 13-14) at school.

Focus should be on a young person’s strengths and abilities and what they want to aspire to and achieve.