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Preparing for adulthood from the earliest years

What does Preparing for Adulthood mean? 

At each stage of children and young people's learning and development, early years settings, primary and secondary schools each need to prepare them for the new responsibilities, new experiences, new independence and the new challenges of the next stage of their education, training and employment.

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Who is involved?

This information is relevant for everyone caring for and/or working with children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND). It is particularly relevant to those working with or caring for children and young people aged 14 and above but it is also important that those with younger children start to prepare them for adult life at the earliest possible age.

What are Transitions?

Transitions from primary to secondary school and from there to college or into work are major events in a young person’s life. For many there will also be other transitions, from children's to adult social care services, for example, or from paediatric care to the care of your local G.P. The Preparing for Adulthood outcomes are designed to help smooth the way through these important transitions.

What are Preparing for Adulthood outcomes?

The Preparing for Adulthood programme (PfA) is funded by the Department for Education as part of the delivery of support for the SEN and disability reforms.  Preparing for adulthood outcomes should be a focus of a young person’s Education and Health Care Plan reviews from Year 9.The aim is to support young people to achieve their aims and ambitions in the areas of employment, independent living, community inclusion and health.

High aspirations are crucial to success – discussions about longer term goals should start early and ideally well before Year 9 (age 13-14). They should focus on the child or young person’s strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve.

In Cornwall we do this by working in partnership with the Careers South West (CSW) Group - who provide careers advice - and with the schools, colleges and supported employment providers that offer pathways through the later years of secondary and post-16 education. Details of these partners can be found on the Cornwall SEND Local Offer, Youth Local Offer and Preparing for Adulthood web pages.

In Cornwall we have given priority to employability as the key to young people living a healthy, happy life. There is lots of research evidence that demonstrates the importance of work: the sense of purpose it gives; the chance to make friends; to get out of the house and socialise; and, of course, the chance to get some money and therefore some independence.

There are different supported  routes to employment: these are apprenticeships; traineeships and supported internships.

More information about Supported Employment can be found on our Post-16 Education page. 

Further information can be found on the Preparing for Adulthood website.